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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A safer way across


A project years in the making is beginning to make life easier for wheelchair-bound residents in Northern Henrico.

The Virginia Department of Transportation is completing a $2-million set of enhancements to the Brook Road corridor in front of St. Joseph's Villa and the Hollybrook Apartments, a community that is home to dozens of disabled residents. > Read more.

New conservation easement creates wooded buffer for Bryan Park

Five years ago, members of the Friends of Bryan Park were facing the apparently inevitable development of the Shirley subdivision in Henrico, adjacent to the forested section of the park near the Nature Center and Environmental Education Area.

As part of the Shirley subdivision, the land had been divided into 14 lots in 1924, but had remained mostly undisturbed through the decades. In 2012, however, developers proposed building 40 modular houses on roughly 6.5 acres, clear-cutting the forest there and creating a highly dense neighborhood tucked into a dead end. > Read more.

Meet the men running for governor


Virginia will elect a new governor this year.

The governor’s position is one of great power and influence, as the current officeholder, Terry McAuliffe, has demonstrated by breaking the record for most vetoes in Virginia history.

However, during the last gubernatorial race in 2014, the voter turnout was less than 42 percent, compared with 72 percent during last year’s presidential election. > Read more.

RISC to address reading, childhood trauma, job training at assembly

On May 1, more than 1,700 community members representing Richmonders Involved to Strengthen our Communities will gather at St. Paul’s Baptist Church (4247 Creighton Road) at 7 p.m. to address elementary reading, childhood trauma and job training in the greater Richmond region. Community members will speak about each issue and proposed solution.

For three years, the organization has sought implementation of a specific literacy program in Henrico County that it believes would help children who struggle with reading. > Read more.

Henrico to begin update of zoning, subdivision ordinances April 26


Henrico County is beginning a comprehensive update of its zoning and subdivision ordinances — the first such effort in six decades — and will introduce the project as part of the April 26 meeting of the Henrico County Planning Commission.

The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. in the Board Room of the Henrico Government Center, 4301 E. Parham Road. The ordinance update project will be featured as the final item on the agenda. Project consultant Clarion Associates will give a presentation, and meeting participants will be able to ask questions and provide comments. > 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


For our Top 10 calendar events this weekend, click here! > Read more.

 

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Glen Allen Library will screen “Captain America: Civil War” (2013, PG-13, 147 minutes) from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. A movie gift card will be given away; wear something Marvel Comics-related and you will get an extra entry into the contest. Snacks will be provided. Sponsored by Friends of the Library. For details, call 501-1950 or visit http://www.henricolibrary.org. Full text

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