Thoughts on Crozet Library’s Further Delay

The Crozet Library has been delayed. Again.

This comment on cvillenews last week spurred me to ask a question about the Crozet Library’s traffic and circulation numbers. I remembered some data about circulation being high in Crozet, but could not remember (nor find) the exact numbers … I have bolded what I was looking for … John Halliday was kind enough to respond in detail.

That’s all we need is a new library in crozet. Can you imagine what a new library will do to the population of crozet. Lets move to crozet, they just got a new library. Population explosion in crozet all over again. BOS are finally getting it right, at least on this one.

I suspect no one has or will move to Crozet because of the library, but having a good library, as we do now, is a component of a community with a high quality of life. One that values knowledge, literature, community and the sharing of all three. Having a new, more adequately-sized library is a promise that the County of Albemarle made to its citizens and is a promise that they should keep.

Tim Tolson asked me to respond to your questions about the need for additional space at Crozet Library. Here (below) is some information you may find helpful. If you need any more information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

The current Crozet Library is 1,728 square feet. That is smaller than most private homes in Albemarle County. For many years the minimum square footage standard for public libraries, set by the State Library Board of Virginia, has been 4,500 square feet. Last January, the State Library Board adopted a new standard of “.6 SF with .8 desired” for public libraries serving populations up to 25,000. Many years ago, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, through the CIP process, adopted .7 SF as Albemarle’s goal. Based on those standards, if Crozet’s service area population (that is, the population within 6 miles of the library) reaches 25,000, the public library should be in the square foot range of 15,000 SF – 20,000 SF.

A rule of thumb in public library development is that when a building’s circulation of library materials (checkouts) reaches 25 per square foot per year, the library should plan for expansion. Here’s how JMRL’s annual circulation per square footage compared as of July 2009: Central Library, 11; Gordon Avenue Library, 25; Scottsville Library, 17; Greene County Library, 13; Louisa County Library 7; Nelson County Library, 17. The two Albemarle libraries that have been discussed for possible expansion are as follows: Northside Library (Albemarle Square), 34; Crozet Library, 76.

Crozet Library makes very efficient use of its limited space, but it is clearly overcrowded compared to other JMRL libraries and it is, in fact, substandard based on Virginia’s state standards. By the way, the SF standard in many other states is 1.0 SF per capita. So, Virginia’s standards are modest.

Crozet Library is the 4th most heavily used library in JMRL’s 8-library system. It is less than half the size of our 8th busiest branch. To give you an idea of how busy the library is, in the past year an average of over 5,500 residents visited the library each month. About 500 people each month visit Crozet Library to use its Internet computers. During a typical summer month over 1,000 children attend library programs.

Hopefully, that gives you a snapshot of Crozet Library’s current situation. Again, please let me know if you need more information.

John Halliday, Library Director
Jefferson-Madison Regional Library
201 East Market Street, Charlottesville Virginia 22902

Mike Marshall at the Crozet Gazette noted last month:

County leaders have notified the Crozet Library Steering Committee that they will recommend to supervisors that the project be pushed back yet again (it was originally slated to open in 2011) and not be considered for funding before 2015. This is ridiculous. Anyone who has been into Crozet Library, especially for one of their popular events, knows the old depot building cannot serve western Albemarle’s burgeoning population for another five or more years. The County should take advantage of currently depressed construction costs by either borrowing money, getting a slice of the $787 billion the federals are looking to spend on “shovel ready” projects, or by suspending the County’s annual tribute payment to Charlottesville—the so-called “revenue sharing agreement” in which only the County does the sharing—a sum which next year will run about $18 million. The library’s architects say that if the project is put out to bid by the end of this year it will cost about $6.37 million. If it goes to bid in the spring of 2010 they predict the cost will be at least $7.19 million. If it goes to bid in 2015, who can imagine. It will never be cheaper than now.

Cross-posted at RealCrozetVA.

Read about the Crozet Library’s Future and Vision.

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