Libraries aren’t just for reading anymore
Roanokers seem to be proud of their libraries. When you consider the money that’s been spent in the past four years, let’s hope so. These have become more than depositories of written, recorded or digital media. They’re community centers complete with private meetings spaces, training rooms, auditoriums in some cases and (old librarians are surely rolling in their graves over this one) food and beverage shops. South County even has a drive through window for their coffee shop.
When you look for libraries in Roanoke County online, you’ll generally find three listed: South County, Vinton and Raleigh Court (which is actually in the city).
There are six libraries in Roanoke County, namely South County (the main county library), Bent Mountain, Glenvar, Hollins, Mount Pleasant and Vinton.
Throughout the week, libraries (primarily South County, Hollins and Vinton) offer a variety of interesting learning opportunities – most for free. This ranges from quilting and guitar playing lessons to Medicare rights tutorials and dog agility training. South County even has movies for adults on the 3rd Tuesday of every month.
Raleigh Court is conveniently located near Grandin Village, so offers a great meeting spot if you’re already on your third coffee and not hungry yet. There are private rooms with doors available to anyone with a City library card (or suitable companion). In addition, there’s an outdoor courtyard with ample seating for conversations. This facility had a $3.78 million rehab in 2015, so everything is pretty new.
I haven’t been to Vinton. This $10 million facility opened on November 18, 2015. Apparently there’s a lot of space for things other than reading, including a courtyard on the roof.
South County opened in its new location (moving from 419, aka Electric Road) in January of 2012. This seems to be designed more for business and socializing than collections. The exterior areas of the second floor are equipped with a large number of private spaces that include recessed electrical outlets atop each worktop. Downstairs there are spots segregated out for eating and socializing. There’s also a surprisingly large (for a library) auditorium, an outdoor café patio and, of course, a coffee shop. If you go down the stairs and behind the library, you’ll find a walking path (OK, path so does not describe this thing – you have to see it to believe it) that winds through mostly wetlands.
Even if borrowing material to read, listen to or watch isn’t your thing, the Roanoke County libraries are worth a look. If you’re remotely creative, you’ll see ways to use the space provided for tasks far removed from reading. If you’re a visitor, consider taking fifteen minutes from your day to pop your head into either South County or Vinton. What they’re doing with libraries in Roanoke will provide colorful tales to bring home with you.