Crozet Library Has Its Grand Opening

Delegate Steve Landes, Build Crozet Library committee chair Bill Schrader, Jefferson/Madison Regional Library Director John Halliday, Crozet librarian Wendy Saz and White Hall District Supervisor Ann Mallek.
Delegate Steve Landes, Build Crozet Library committee chair Bill Schrader, Jefferson/Madison Regional Library Director John Halliday, Crozet librarian Wendy Saz and White Hall District Supervisor Ann Mallek.

New Crozet Library, already thoroughly ogled and settled into by area residents, had a grand opening Sept. 28. Local political dignitaries made speeches and the energetic committee of local residents who have shouldered the $1.6 million Build Crozet Library fundraising campaign got called forward to be recognized.

Program emcee Ann Mallek, who deserves credit herself for the realization of the library, praised the crowd of 250 who had come out to celebrate. “Without the Crozetians of the world this would not have happened,” she said.

State Senators Emmett Hanger and Creigh Deeds were on hand, as was Delegate Steve Landes. Boy Scout Troop 79 presented a color guard.

Landes praised the library and made points about “lifelong learning,” “community hub,” and “citizen education.”

He called out Build Crozet Library Chair Bill Schrader for special notice. “I can tell you this day would not have happened if not for this man. He got my attention and the state’s attention. It’s gratifying to see the support that has come together. It’s an example to the state of Virginia of what a community can do coming together.”

Albemarle County Executive Tom Foley, who called himself a Crozetian, said, “the main point is the unique partnership between county government and the community of Crozet. It’s been a successful and committed partnership that’s really a model.” He admitted that to start out he could not believe Crozet citizens really expected to raise $1.6 million to furnish the interior, buy computers and stock the shelves. Foley put the spotlight momentarily on MB Construction Co.’s construction supervisor, June Bug Reed, who delivered the building according to plan and on time.

Jefferson Madison Regional Library Board of Trustees President Brian Lafontaine called the library a “commitment to democracy” that provides “the vital asset of community.”

“My hat is off to the wonderful community of Crozet, who have banded together to bring us this library. This new Crozet Library is a model of citizen effort.”

When his turn came, Schrader announced that 725 individuals have contributed to the library fund and he carefully gave credit to large donors who had paid for specific sections of the interior. “Everything you see today is paid for. It’s done. Thank yourselves,” he said.

Then, in a surprise, he called Dominion [Power] Foundation philanthropy director Iris Holiday out of the crowd. She had seen video of the book brigade and she said that made her get involved in the fund drive. “I have never seen a project so positive in any county in the last decade,” she told the crowd. Then she presented a ceremonial check for $40,000 to Schrader. “It’s to pay for the circulation desk,” she explained.

Bill Schrader accepting the check from the Dominion Foundation.
Bill Schrader accepting the $40,000 check from Iris Holiday of the Dominion Foundation.

Schrader said the Crozet public designed the interior and paid for it. “You have the library you want because it’s your dollars that’s doing it.”

He called forward the fundraising committee and praised each one for his or her special contributions to its tasks. “This team has been working hard,” he said.

The fund drive will continue for another year in order to build up the collection, which has already added 10,000 books to what was available in the old library, Schrader said. That’s 43,000 books in all, but the goal is a collection on the order of 75,000. Some 350 new library cards have been issued since the new building opened and circulation is up 18 percent in a month-to-month comparison with September of last year.

Looking for a crescendo the end on, he announced the latest fund drive sum: impressively, $1,023,522.00 has been raised.

Western Albemarle senior Madison Tegen, a library volunteer, wrapped up the ceremony. She once addressed the supervisors on the need to build the new library.

“I moved to Crozet four years ago from a big city. At the library I felt friendliness and a strong community atmosphere. This library provides even more opportunities for Crozet to grow and connect.”

Then a yellow ribbon was snipped and the crowd proceeded in, many wearing the commemorative “I helped Build Crozet Library” T-shirt.