Good change for library patrons

Published 9:20 pm Thursday, October 6, 2016

We’re cheering along with Blackwater Regional Library patrons for the example of responsive government that recently resulted in hours at some branches being reinstated.

Patrons and library staff will celebrate today with a cake-and-coffee social from noon to 5 p.m. at the Carrollton branch, which is located at 14362 New Towne Haven Lane.

The libraries were forced to reduce hours earlier this year when the county’s Board of Supervisors cut the budget request. The Carrollton branch was closed on Fridays, while the Smithfield branch closed three hours earlier on Wednesdays.

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The cuts affected many patrons, who especially were in need of Friday hours, said Jenny Bailey, the Blackwater Regional Library director.

There “was always a Friday rush” as parents and students came by to get what they needed before the weekend, Bailey said. The library has limited Saturday hours and is closed Sundays.

Many patrons of the library rallied to have the library hours reinstated. They wrote letters to the Board of Supervisors, and meetings were held to address the shortage. Eventually, county leaders were able to find the money, and Blackwater reinstated the hours.

The Carrollton branch will also be able to restart several of its community programs and activities, which will be a benefit to those patrons who enjoy the programs and get many intangible benefits from them.

The branch staff was so excited, they wanted to celebrate. That’s the happy occasion that has brought cake and coffee to the menu Friday afternoon.

The whole episode shows many favorable aspects of Isle of Wight County. The citizens use libraries and are community-minded, going to bat for their cause and bringing about change.

The Board of Supervisors and staff were very responsive, going above and beyond to ensure library hours and services could be restored after they realized how important library hours were to their constituents.

We applaud all who were involved in this noteworthy effort.