With the news that bids to build the new Crozet library came in at $5.77 million, under the county’s budgeted estimate of $6 million, there were no reasons to further delay construction. It will never be cheaper to accomplish. Detractors of the project argue that libraries are becoming obsolete in the digital age, but the digital transformation of the world is not reaching everyone equally and egalitarian access to information is the reason libraries came to be. This isn’t America if we don’t all have the same chance to learn or know something. This is a bedrock value because the social and economic implications of it are obvious.
Many many people have worked hard to make the library happen, but we owe thanks especially to two of Crozet’s own: Tim Tolson, currently the chair of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library’s Board of Trustees, and Bill Schrader, who stepped forward years ago to lead the $1.6 million dollar fundraising effort that we in western Albemarle will undertake to furnish the space and stock it with content. These gentlemen have served with dogged dignity and grace in the long campaign to make the library a reality. It took a seeming infinity of meetings to get here and there were many reverses along the way. Yet they persevered in the cause and in their own conduct showed it is worthy. Crozet has many patriots who come forward and work to make the town’s future bright and to defend the community we have made. But none have done more or been better stewards than these two. Hail to you, we say, and thanks so much.
Warm thanks are also due to White Hall District Supervisor Ann Mallek who understood that now is the time to build the library. She skillfully managed the project through county government and won the support of fellow supervisors. She has made a tangible, valuable, permanent difference for western Albemarle with this achievement. She has truly represented us.
The library will take about a year to build once construction begins in July. That’s not much time to raise so much money. Crozet likes to stand on its own feet and take of itself when it can. In recent years we have been pressing on local government to act on the library. Soon it will be our duty to provide the library’s key ingredients, the reasons we want to build it. But like this goal that we have just achieved, we will reach the next one, too.