I recently made my first visit to the Roanoke County Library headquarters (officially the South County Library
) in the Starkey area of Roanoke County. (The new building opened a year ago
, but I'm one of the few hadn't gotten around to visiting it yet.) I confess, I'm one of a multitude who doesn't like the color and pattern bricks on the exterior.
But I had to admit the view from the parking lot was impressive . . .
. . . and the entry was certainly welcoming. The sculpture in front of the main door was perfect for a library.
Here's another view of the sculpture by Roanoke artist Betty Branch
Inside, I found the library was everything a modern library should be. I loved the layout, the various areas, and the spaciousness. Librarian Darlene Smithwick, whom I knew from the old library building, gave me the grand tour.
To one side, and with its own separate entrance and even a drive-up window, is a Starbucks.
One wall of the coffee shop is a place where Friends of the Library sell used books.
Just inside the library itself is a cozy nook with a gas fireplace.
Nearby is a spacious section for magazines and periodicals.
Another area has an auditorium that can seat about 200. It has a Smartboard
and an impressive sound system.
I loved the Children's Room. The doors were open when I went through.
Notice the door pulls. Aren't they neat? Going through the door is like entering a fantasy realm where imagination reigns.
Who can resist little chairs with duck feet?
The story hour room has colorful carpet, plenty of counter space, and a wall that doubles as a bulletin board.
Another wall features dragonfly hooks.
You can access upstairs either by elevator or by the open stairwell. The rails and walls have openings too small for a child to slip through. The openness makes it easy to monitor various areas.
Some of the computers are here.
Here's part of the non-fiction area not far from the computers..
The teen room is upstairs, too. This is the only room that has Mac computers. The room is sound-proof so the kids can talk—or play noisy video games—and not disturb other patrons.
Lots of seating areas for reading or socializing are scattered through the library. This upstairs one overlooks the parking lot. Notice the outlet on the floor—convenient if you want to plug in and recharge your laptop. The library's wi-fi is wonderful.
The library has loads of space for employee offices and workrooms. The view below is from the staff's lounge.
The library has several conferences rooms available to the public. Downstairs are two 80-seat rooms near the coffee shop. The smaller one below, complete with Smartboard, is upstairs.
In this room hang some historical pictures of the Starkey area. For example, there's a picture of Tazewell Merriman Starkey, who lived in Speedwell, the 1827 Robert Harvey plantation house next door.
Starkey, a Civil War veteran originally from Franklin County, married into the Harvey family and eventually acquired the plantation. The area gets its name from him.
The old Starkey school—which has been closed for decades—is just down and cross the road from the library.
The Starkey Speedway used to be in the area, too. It's long gone.
The train station, built in 1891, is also no longer around.
There's a lot more to see in the library than what I have put in this blog-post. If you haven't visited the place, I recommend you do so.