Friends of the Library honor the Vinton Public Library staff
VINTON–The Roanoke County Friends of the Library (FOL) treated the staff of the Vinton Public Library to lunch on July 16. They plan to hold staff appreciation luncheons at all six County libraries.
“It’s a small way to say thank you for all their dedication and hard work,” said Lorraine Bratton, member of the FOL non-profit organization.
The FOL believe that a strong public library is essential to the Valley, and they conduct fundraisers during the year to finance the needs of the libraries that are not met by taxpayers. Their main fundraisers are two book sales each year at South County Library in April and October.
Through their efforts, the FOL have been able to sponsor the Virginia Author Series with talks by authors such as Bud Robertson, Bob Slaughter, Sharyn McCrumb, and Judge Martin Clark.
They have purchased self-checkout machines and a machine that cleans DVD’s, funded the Summer Children’s Reading Program, bought furniture for the Vinton library, supported Teen programs, and purchased signage and artwork for the libraries.
They underwrite the Roanoke Valley Reads program which encourages everyone in the Valley to read a chosen book for the year at the same time.
The Friends of the Library especially endeavor to show the library workers, both paid and volunteer, that their efforts to serve the public are appreciated. In addition to the staff luncheons, the FOL members send birthday cards to every library staff member, provide an annual volunteer lunch, and pay for the library’s staff Christmas party.
The Vinton library now has four full time staff members: Jamie Channell, branch manager; Emily Metrock, Children’s Library Assistant; Kimberly Burnette-Dean, Library Assistant; and Marni Smith, Library Assistant. There are six part-time staffers, as well as several floaters who move from library to library as needed.
Vinton’s first informal library opened in 1941, in a room at the community center. Over 500 books were put into circulation as a result of donations by Valley residents. In the years that followed the Vinton library was also housed at Roland E. Cook School and then at the Vinton War Memorial.
The Roanoke County Public Library system itself is only 67 years old, chartered in 1945 by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Prior to that, the library had been an adjunct of the Women’s Club and was operated out of their headquarters in Salem. It later moved to an old factory building there and served other parts of the County, including Vinton, using a bookmobile.
It was during the late 1960’s that the Roanoke County Library Board and the Board of Supervisors began to phase out the bookmobile and began building multiple full-service branches around the County. Construction on the first true branch library began in Vinton in 1969 in the current location, with a grand opening in 1970.
The building was severely damaged in 1983 after a catastrophic storm sent the HVAC unit crashing through the roof. Along with the necessary repairs, the Board of Supervisors chose to expand the footprint of the building to its current size of 9,400 square feet. Except for occasional refurbishing, it has remained the same since then.
“After 42 years of service, Vinton Branch Library is now the oldest building in the system,” said Roanoke County Public Library director Diana Rosapepe. “ It provides its patrons with new books, DVDs, magazines, computers and Internet access, children’s story times and programs, research and many more services. In the last fiscal year (July 1, 2011-June 30, 2012) Vinton circulated 204,479 items and had 217,454 visits by citizens.”
Vinton is awaiting news from the Board of Supervisors on when more specific planning for the proposed downtown Vinton library will begin. Mike Altizer, Vinton’s representative on the Board of Supervisors, advised members of the Vinton Historical Society earlier in the summer that he hopes the Board will fund the architectural and engineering phase of the new library in the near future.
“I think it’s time to move forward on this project, especially with the Town receiving the revitalization grant money from the state,” said Altizer. “It’s my hope that the Board will act soon and begin having community meetings to discuss the design and architecture of the new library.”