New Library Ready for Opening Day

There's a whole lot of sipping and surfing going on -- and not much shushing -- in today's modern library. And nowhere is the trend more evident than inside Henrico's new gem at 1901 Starling Drive. {{more}}

Opening Oct. 9 at 9 a.m., the new Tuckahoe Library boasts more than twice as many public computers (113) as the old; a cafe serving box lunches and coffee; meeting and conference rooms; an elevator; more than triple the parking space; and (among the staff favorites) spacious seating areas with cushy chairs and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a scenic view.

"We've seen geese, ducks, hawks and heron," says librarian Sue Van Tassel, who has already found a favorite nook for relaxing by the window. "After lunch I come sit here with my book. It was brilliant of [the architects] to keep this whole side so open."

Since the old library closed its doors August 12, staff has has been scrambling to set up everything from shelving to signage and to organize an expanded collection of books, DVDs, audio books, and magazines numbering 183,000.

"It was a very challenging move," says Van Tassel. "Imagine building a new house of 52,000 square feet and having to fill it up and find a place for everything. Plus the amount of technology and new wiring.

"We didn't want to have to close it that long," she says of the shift from the long-outgrown 35-year-old building on Parham Road. "But the reality is it's taken all eight weeks to get ready."

Thanks to amenities such as a meeting room with full kitchen and puppet stage, a conference room seating 16, a 'state of the art computer lab (including laptops available for on-site checkout), Tuckahoe now has the capacity to hold many more classes and special events.

Coming up on the fall schedule are classes in basic computer literacy, Excel, and getting started on the Web, and events that include a Holiday Greens workshop, fencing demonstration, Kamp Kreatures puppet show, environmental book discussion group, and Teen Read Week kick-off featuring ComedySportz.

Using Every Space
Even the employee break room, complete with spacious cooking area and delectable views ("It's like Emeril's kitchen!" Van Tassel likes to say, laughing) doubles as a setting for classes. Cookbook author Debi Shawcross will be the first to hold a book signing and salad tasting in the break room's demonstration kitchen on Nov. 11.

"So we're really using every space," Van Tassel points out.

As the children's librarian, Van Tassel is especially pleased with the separate story time room, which means story hours need no longer compete with adult meetings, and decorations and equipment can be left in place.

As young readers outgrow the children's corner, they can gravitate to another space created especially for them: the young adult area.

But no matter how impressive facts and figures about square footage and technology may look on paper, emphasizes Courtney Melchor, they don't do justice to the building's cheery atmosphere. "The natural light, striking colors, and comfy seating areas throughout" are impossible to appreciate without a visit, insists the library system's community liaison.

As librarian Yvonne Schieberl points out, the overstuffed chairs and "community seating" arrangements lend themselves much better to collaboration, conversation and group study than did the cubicles and study carrels of the old library. Plumping her bench seat in a section of diner-like tables that librarians have dubbed the 'funky seating area," Schieberl exclaims, "These are not like school chairs!"

"And did we mention Lola's Library Caf
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RVA Polar Plunge raises $40k for Special Olympics


More than 300 participants took the plunge for charity Feb. 25 at The Shops at Willow Lawn, raising $40,000 for the Special Olympics of Virginia as part of the 2017 RVA Polar Plunge Fest. Participants jumped into frigid water as part of the event, having raised money through donations leading up to the event.

“At Special Olympics Virginia, our vision is to inspire the first unified generation; a generation of people who respectfully include each other in the school, in the workplace, in the community,” said Rick Jeffrey, Special Olympics Virginia President. “Plunging this past Saturday included people with intellectual disabilities and those without; people of all ages, genders, races and religions; students and teachers; doctors and lawyers; military and law enforcement; one for all; all for one." > Read more.

Fundraiser bags more than $50k


CancerLINC's 11th annual "It’s in the Bag" event raised more than $50,000. The event, presented by Virginia Cancer Institute, was held at The Westin Richmond in Henrico Feb. 2 and was attended by more than 200 people.

“It's in the Bag” included handbag designer Thaddeus DuBois and his family from Syracuse, Ind. DuBois brought four handcrafted handbags, which were auctioned off and raised more than $4,000. Three autographed handbags from “Sex and the City” star Sarah Jessica Parker also brought funds. > Read more.

A date with states


Above, Varina’s Andre Watkins drives to the basket during the Blue Devils’ 52-51 win against Hampton in the Group 5A third-place game at Hermitage High School Feb. 25. Below, Tyrese Jenkins drives to the basket during the game. The Blue Devils (21-6 on the season), who earlier last month defeated Hermitage, 53-34, to earn a spot in the 5A state tournament, next will face Albemarle in that tournament. It is the program’s first trip to the state tournament since 2001 and first under fourth-year coach Andrew Lacey, who has turned around a team that was 6-14 during his first season. > Read more.

Future public servants observe lawmaking firsthand


For the past two months, they showed up every day at the state Capitol, dressed in matching blazers and carrying pen and paper at the ready – the next generation of public servants carefully observing their superiors.

These young adults are known as pages. They are middle school and high school students from around Virginia who assist in everyday tasks at the General Assembly to experience firsthand how the legislative process works.

The program dates as far back as 1850, when the one page who worked was paid $2 a day. > Read more.

CRLC seeks donations for Malvern Hill Farm


The Capital Region Land Conservancy (CRLC) is seeking to raise $100,000 in 30 days to cover due diligence and closing costs associated with the historic Malvern Hill Farm. These include boundary survey, Phase I ESA, title search and insurance, recording fees, taxes, and legal work as well as a Section 106 review.

CRLC is scheduled to close on the purchase of the property May 31, and is asking community members to help support the site's acquisition. All donations will help CRLC leverage $1 million in matching funds. > Read more.
Community

Villa’s Flagler Housing wins national NAEH award


St. Joseph's Villa’s Flagler Housing & Homeless Services was one of three entities to earn the National Alliance to End Homelessness' Champion of Change Award. The awards were presented Nov. 17 during a ceremony at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

NAEH annually recognizes proven programs and significant achievements in ending child and family homelessness.

Flagler completed its transition from an on-campus shelter to the community-based model of rapid rehousing in 2013, and it was one of the nation's first rapid re-housing service providers to be certified by NAEH. > Read more.

RIR’s Christmas tree lighting rescheduled for Dec. 12


Richmond International Raceway's 13th annual Community Christmas tree lighting has been rescheduled from Dec. 6 to Monday, Dec. 12, at 6:30 p.m., due to inclement weather expected on the original date.

Entertainment Dec. 12 will be provided by the Laburnum Elementary School choir and the Henrico High School Mighty Marching Warriors band. Tree decorations crafted by students from Laburnum Elementary School and L. Douglas Wilder Middle School will be on display. Hot chocolate and cookies will be supplied by the Henrico High School football boosters. > Read more.
Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


Given the warm weather lately, Saturday’s RVA Polar Plunge Winter Fest, benefiting Special Olympics Virginia, might actually be enjoyable! Other weekend events you’re sure to enjoy include the 14th annual Richmond Kids Expo at the Richmond Raceway Complex, the Richmond Symphony and The Taters in concert at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen, and the Richmond Ballet Minds in Motion Team XXL performing at the Henrico Theatre. This is also the last weekend to check out HATTheatre’s production of “Bill W. and Dr. Bob.” For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

 

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The Henrico County Community Author Showcase, a program that connects writers and readers in the community, will begin at 7 p.m. and continue on the second Monday and every Thursday of the month at various libraries. Ariel Wilkerson will share her children’s book “Riley and How It All Started” at Fairfield Library. For details, visit http://www.henricolibrary.org/authors. Full text

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