Gayton Library reopens after year-long renovation

After waiting more than a year, the Henrico community had to wait one more day than expected to see the $4.8 million renovation to the Gayton Library.

As officials planned to unveil the inside of the building at its reopening celebration June 25, a powerful storm blew through the region and knocked out power to the facility, along with thousands of other locations.

“It was just one of those things,” said Kara Rothman, community relations coordinator for Henrico County Public Libraries. “Weather is just out of your hands, but we were glad that we could welcome people and have the ceremony.”

The community had to wait until the following day to see the complete interior renovation, when the library opened at its normal time of 10 a.m.

The library, which originally opened in Dec.1988, closed for these renovations last April.

“Before we closed, we had a lot of problems with darkness at night; our lights didn’t really work the way they needed to,”said Erin Rogers, Gayton children’s librarian. “We had moved shelving around in the years that we had been open, and it didn’t really match up with the paths of the lights anymore.”

Last week’s storms aside, no one will have any problems seeing inside Gayton Library at night anymore, Rogers said.

Other large changes to the interior include a more-segmented children’s area, an actual room for the teen area, updated technology in the meeting room and a new quiet study room. The quiet study room, which completely blocks out any noise, came as a result of numerous requests from the community, including at a town hall meeting that occurred during the renovation’s planning stages, Rothman said.

“I really think the architects did a great job incorporating all those comments,”she said. BCWH served as the architectural firm, with Charles W. Wray Jr. as the principal architect on the project. Everything went according to schedule, Rothman said.

Both Rothman and Rogers said it would be good for the community to have Gayton Library open for business again.

Rogers said it had been hard to comfort people with how close the Tuckahoe Library was when they had been so used to just walking to the Gayton Library every day. Rothman added that they can walk again, now to a “much more inviting, open and modern”library.
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