A decade of planning will come to fruition Saturday when the new Gum Spring Library fills with families exploring their new community gathering point for the first time.
The final touches still are being made, but the shelves are filled with books, banks of computers are online and the library’s spacious reading areas and meeting rooms are fully furnished. This week, artist Joan Gardiner will work to complete the large ceramic wall display, entitled Riparian Zone, that will be a visual focal point of the library.
The 40,000-square-foot facility is the county’s first two-story library, housed in a four-story building just south of Rt. 50 at 24600 Millstream Dr. near the entrance to Van Metre’s Stone Ridge development. The project began in 2003 as county leaders worked to provide more public services to residents in fast-growing southern Loudoun. In 2007, county voters approved a bond referendum to finance the project. At the time of the 2009 groundbreaking ceremony, a 2011 opening was envisioned.
Residents will likely find the opening of the library worth the wait. Gum Spring, the county’s eighth library, will be the first new branch to open in Loudoun since Ashburn Library in 2003. Since 2007, library usage in the county has increased by 50 percent.
The entire first floor of the new library is dedicated to children, with different rooms designed to serve specific age groups and reading levels. The second floor layout is geared to adults and teens, with spacious reading areas, glass-walled collaboration rooms and a game room.
The Gum Spring staff already is planning a wide range of programs for children and adults. Signup in under way for the Kids Book Club. Programs on how to use technology, including iPads and e-readers, are planned for adults.
The grand opening ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 23 and activities—including face painters, musical performances, teen center activities and opportunities for residents to get their library cards—will continue through 5 p.m.