Last Updated: Jan 8th, 2015 - 07:42:25

Library reopens after 17 months
By Blake Belden, Staff Writer
Jun 27, 2013, 09:35

BLAKE BELDEN/HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT The Ettrick-Matoaca Library re-opened its doors on Monday after being closed for renovations for 17 months.

CHESTERFIELD — After almost 17 months of waiting, an eager mass braved the 90-degree heat to witness the re-opening of the 8,000-square-foot Ettrick-Matoaca Library in Chesterfield on Monday afternoon.

During the last year and a half, the library underwent a major reconstruction, of which the only things that remain from the original building are the four walls and some of the floor, according to Matoaca District Board member Stephen Elswick.

The renovations, which came in response to a 2004 vote by Chesterfield residents in favor of a bond issuance, include an expanded collection, a new conference room designated as a small-business center and two outdoor reading gardens.

In addition to structural improvements, the library offers many new technological benefits.  There are three computers designated for catalog browsing and 10 more computers allotted for recreational use with free Internet access. There are also laptops available for rent, which can be used throughout the facility and even outside in one of the reading gardens. 

“[This is] the first library where you can actually take laptops out of the building,” Elswick said.

Officials from Chesterfield County, Friends of Ettrick Library, Matoaca District Board of Supervisors and Virginia State University were among those invited to cut the ribbon and inaugurate the new library.
Visitors took advantage of the library’s new features.

Included in the library’s free membership is access to newly acquired online databases that many places in the area do not offer. 

Branch manager Jennifer Hayek said she was excited to introduce free access to a brand new digital magazine database called Zinio to members of the library. 

Zinio is a website that allows users to browse a collection of more than 5,500 magazines, many of which usually require a fee to read.

Nanci Clary, the public services administrator for Chesterfield County Public Library, was proud to mention that the library also now uses a new database called Library Express, which allows the library to catalog books, music, movies and more with a single application.

“Nobody in the area has it,” Clary said.

The new library will provide a little something for everybody, she added. “It’s all about the mix of the collection [and keeping] the material fresh,” she said.

Recordable CDs and flash drives are also available to purchase in the facility.

County Administrator James Stegmaier said that the library has always been a welcoming place for those who need to complete school work, find a new book to read or even take shelter during a thunderstorm.

“For 37 years, this library has been a part of the community ... [offering  visitors] a comfortable sense of belonging,” Stegmaier said.
Guests used the library’s new computer space.

Originally built in 1976, the facility first underwent renovations in 1994 before its most recent reconstruction, during which the library continued operating from a double-wide trailer.

“Thank you for being patient.  Thank you for supporting us.  And thank you for believing in us because if it wasn’t for you, we wouldn’t need a library anyway,” Elswick said to those who came to the ceremony.

Elswick said that the new library is the first of many prospective plans to redevelop the surrounding Chesterfield area including the replacement of the Matoaca Elementary School, and renovations to both the Ettrick Elementary School and Train Station.

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