In August, the Ashburn Library will open after all — nearly on schedule and with 60,000 to 70,000 new books.
"This has been a long-time coming," said Douglas Henderson, director of the Loudoun County Public Libraries.
The Board of Supervisors originally planned to open the library in 2011, but at the request of residents moved the project forward to a 2003 opening. The board considered delaying the opening late last year to save $1.6 million in operational costs, a consideration included in the board's review of possible new expenditures cuts to reduce the county's overall budget.
"Because people reasserted the need, it didn't get looked at long," said Supervisor Charles Harris (D-Broad Run).
Budgeting for the library is expected to be $1.4 million and staffing at 24.5 full time equivalents (FTEs). The board plans to approve the final budget on March 31.
"If you look at the county and where the libraries are situated, there's been a huge need for this facility," said Ken Turner, Broad Run representative for the Public Library Board of Trustees.
Turner, Harris, Henderson and members of the Ashburn Library Advisory Board took a tour Saturday of the library building at Hay Road and Breezyhill Drive.
ASHBURN LIBRARY will open on Aug. 10 a few months later than originally scheduled. The design of the 23,400-square-foot building will address some of the shortcomings in existing library building plans.
For instance, the children's area and fiction shelves will be in the front of the building, unlike in the 30,000-square-foot Eastern Loudoun Regional Library where the two areas are located in the far back.
The two areas and the audio-visual area, all considered of high interest, will be near the entrance of the Ashburn Library, which will have two walls of windows and a section of donor blocks with the names of five corporations and 166 community members.
"We wanted to do more of a community type thing, so the residents feel more of an ownership," Henderson said.
To the left of the entrance will be the children's story room and meeting rooms that can be accessed by a separate entrance, allowing the area to be closed off from the rest of the library during off-hours.
Directly to the right will be the circulation desk, with the non-fiction and reference areas and the computer bank sitting further to the right. A separated periodicals room will be in the far back, or on the very eastern end of the building.
THE LIBRARY is designed to hold 90,000 books, but will be opened below capacity to leave space for new releases and other new books. With the additional books, Library Services will remain below the standards set by the American Library Association for three books per capita. Currently, the county has 490,000 books for 200,000 residents.
"We need to add 55,000 to 60,000 new books a year to stand still," Henderson said.
The library's design will allow for additional shelving by placing the windows near the ceiling, unlike Leesburg's Rust Library that has several walls of windows.
"We're doing a better job at more expandability and usability," Harris said.
"The site's too small," Henderson said about the 4.3-acre proffered site, adding that the county aims for seven to eight-acre sites to build new library facilities. "It's too small for the community now."
Saving on the costs of the site, the library is estimated to cost $6 million for design plans, construction, furniture and books.
"The libraries at this point have not paid cash for a site. Everything was proffered or donated," Henderson said.