Thirty years and countless patrons and borrowed books ago, Middleburg Library opened in their newly built facility at 101 Reed Street.
The sun-filled building was the culmination of many years of a hard-working group of volunteers proving that Middleburg deserved a Loudoun County-funded brick and mortar library. The county had provided only a bookmobile that visited the community monthly. Residents, led by Donald Musch, decided in 1984 to set up a library in the basement of what was the Health Center, later the Police station, and now the new home of the Old Ox Brewery on Madison Street.
To prove the viability of a new library and the community support, the committee went door to door in Middleburg and raised enough money to stock and operate the Regional Library of Middleburg. Professional librarian Steve Matthews volunteered for a few hours a week, and community volunteers covered the remaining hours. Operating as a non-profit organization for five years, the group demonstrated its community use to the scrutiny of the county, and plans began for the building of a new library in Middleburg, adding to the county’s growing number of public libraries.
It was the gift of the Middleburg Community Center’s granting the library a 99- year lease for $1.00 that helped seal the deal. As a show of appreciation, the exterior design of the small building resembled that of the iconic Middleburg Community Center.
“In some ways all of this library is magical,” says Sheila Whetzel, head librarian of Middleburg Library since it’s 1990 opening.
The library has become a staple of our community. Some patrons come in daily to use the computers and WIFI for telecommuting. Others show up several times a week to peruse books or pick up a stack of books they have reserved online. There are adult book clubs and children’s storytime and activities, events scheduled throughout the year, and the community room serves as a meeting place.
“People don’t realize that we have so many services and hours open to them,” says Whetzel.
The growth of the library’s patronage called for a physical expansion doubling the library’s size in 2013. The addition, designed by Middleburg architects Bill Turnure and Tim Clites, was utterly community funded.
“A lot of people had to come together to make this work,” says Whetzel.
“Middleburg is so fortunate to have such an extraordinary library staff,” says Advisory Board President Alix Coolidge. “We have a true gem in our small library and our librarians and have enjoyed tremendous community support for the last 30 years.”
To celebrate its 30th anniversary, the library hosted a celebration on February 12. A hundred and ten locals showed up for cake and the opportunity to take a book of their choice home from the cache of those donated for the annual book sale.
Middleburg Library, 101 Reed Street. Hours Monday-Thursday 10 am-9 pm. Friday and Saturday 10 am-5 pm. Closed Sunday.
By Kerry Phelps Dale