The Mayor of Gordonsville has asked the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors to donate money for the construction of a new library in his Orange County town. In his presentation to the Board on August 6, 2008, Bob Coiner said many of the library’s patrons are Albemarle County residents. Gordonsville is not part of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library system to which Albemarle belongs.
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The existing 900 square feet library is one of Orange’s three libraries, and is located in the town hall. Coiner said it is not an adequate space.
”If you open the door to walk in, if someone’s checking out a book, everyone has to move over,” Coiner said. There’s only one computer, no bathrooms, and many books are stored off-site in a warehouse. He estimates that at least forty percent of library users come from outside Orange County, given that Gordonsville is less than a mile away from the Albemarle and Louisa Counties.
The Orange County government has allocated $800,000 for a new library, but the Friends of the Gordonsville Library would prefer to build a design that would cost $1.1 million which would allow for expansion. To make up the $300,000 gap, Coiner said the group is seeking help from multiple sources, including Albemarle. They have until October 1 to come up with the extra funding.
“This could potentially be an Albemarle County library if you look 50 or 60 years down the road,” Coiner said. In the mean-time, it’s serving a lot more people who don’t want to drive all the way from northeast Albemarle to get books. Supervisor
(Scottsville) asked Coiner to quantify exactly how many Albemarle residents used the Gordonsville library, but Coiner could not give an accurate figure because the library only qualifies patrons as residents and non-residents.
(Jack Jouett) suggested the matter should be referred to the library board, but warned that this is a tight budget year. Supervisor
(Samuel Miller) said that Albemarle County is building its own new library in Crozet.
County Attorney Larry Davis said in this situation the County cannot send money to a town in another jurisdiction, but could allocate the money to the library board, which could then donate the money to Friends of the Gordonsville Library. But he said there would have to be some sort of an agreement in place.
Boyd said there were a lot of issues to deal with, and he asked for the matter to be referred to the Library Board to make a recommendation in advance of the Board’s September 3rd meeting. Thomas said a donation could be “a creative way to get a lot of bang for our buck” but that there were many issues to work through.