Charlottesville’s New Northside Library

The Northside Library opened today at noon, and people were arriving about 30 minutes early, in anticipation of its opening, some with books in hand.

I was able to stay for about twenty minutes, but this from Supervisor Brad Sheffield echoes something I’ve been saying (and feeling) for a couple years.

Brad Sheffield is talking about a resurgence in demand for community spaces-for human interaction. Libraries matter.

The Library is located in the old Phillips Supply building on Rio Road – the west side of 29.

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Albemarle County move as fast on a capital improvement project as they did on the Northside Library.

Libraries matter; I’ve written a bunch about the new Crozet Library, but I’ll sum up that experience simply:

The old Crozet Library was small and great. The new Crozet Library is tremendous and has quickly become a thriving hub of the Crozet community. Here’s hoping that Northside has a similar experience. I’m thinking that based on the crowd today and the fact that at 12:25 there were already people lining up for the drive-up service, there’s a good chance the new library will be well used.

Albemarle's new Northside Library

Press release after the break. Here are some more photos I took today.


County Celebrates Completion of New Northside Library Facility at March 16 Ceremony

Albemarle County officials joined representatives from the Jefferson Madison Regional Library at a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the new Northside Library project on Monday, March 16. The commemoration began at noon in the Library (705 Rio Road) where Library Director John Halliday, Supervisors Jane Dittmar and Brad Sheffield, County Executive Tom Foley, and project team representatives addressed the crowd. Afterwards, attendees enjoyed self-guided tours through the new facility.

As the northern region of the County continues to develop, the need for a larger library facility was identified to support growth. Previously, the Northside Library was located in leased space at Albemarle Square, and the County warehouse/storage space was located in leased space at the former Comdial building on Seminole Trail. The new facility eliminated the need for those two leased spaces, providing a permanent location for the Northside Library as well as long-term County warehouse and storage space at a significant cost savings to the County.

Construction began in early 2014 and involved the repurposing of the existing Phillips Building. The new facility provides approximately 30,000 square feet of library space, space for the bookmobile, branch office space, and over 20,000 square feet of warehouse space. Additional spaces provided in the new library include:

  • Separate collections for children, teens and adults.
  • A variety of space types for reading and study.
  • Generous computer space and connections.
  • A small catering kitchen.
  • A staff area for processing books, staff meetings, and other clerical functions.
  • Two community meetings rooms, both of which can be divided and can operate while the library is closed, allowing neighborhood and community groups to meet after hours or allow meetings to extend beyond a regular closing hour.
  • A lobby area which also connects to the lower level and mezzanine via elevator and stair, permitting the mezzanine to have hours that are not dependent on library hours and providing ADA access to the lower level.
  • A rmaker space with 3D printer and music creation software.
  • A permanent home to Albemarle County Public Schools’ English as a Second or Other Language (ESOL) program

“This new facility exemplifies the evolution of the public library,” said Library Director John Halliday. “Today’s public libraries are more than technology centers, book repositories, and quiet reading spaces. They are also focal points for community gatherings and activities. “

“The Northside Library project is a successful example of thoughtful development in our urban areas, something that is very important to the County’s future,” said Supervisor Jane Dittmar. “This project reflects our commitment to the community and a cohesive, attractive, vibrant urban area that embodies the vision and intent of the master plan.”

“We’re proud to see this project completed,” said County Executive Tom Foley. “The Northside Library is a wonderful model of the County’s commitment to education and the prioritization, planning, and investment in critical infrastructure which responds to past and future changes.”

The new facility officially opens its doors to the public at noon on Monday, March 16. Community residents and business owners will be invited to attend a larger celebratory event on Saturday, April 18, 2015.

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