The Petersburg Library Foundation was formed in 2002 with a mission to provide financial support for the purchase, construction and operation of a new library. The Foundation is made up of 12 voluntary board members.
Current Board Members
Chairman Robert C. Walker
Front Row Left to Right: Shirley Webb, Hibernia Cuthbert, Ann Taylor, Daphne Maxwell Reid; Back Row: Bob Walker, Brian Moore, Heath Myers, Joe Preston, Jack Crocker, Wayne Crocker
Robert C. “Bob” Walker
Ann C. Taylor
Jacob A. “Jack” Crocker
Wayne M. Crocker
The Honorable Brian A. Moore
Hibernia H. Cuthbert
A Brief History
The Petersburg Public Library System has been headquartered at the 13,000- square-foot William R. McKenney Branch at 137 S. Sycamore Street since 1924, when Clara J. McKenney donated it for use as a city library in memory of her late husband, William R. McKenney. The library system has two other branches: the Rodof Sholom Branch at 1865 S. Sycamore Street and the A. P. Hill Branch at 1237 Halifax Street.
In order to meet the needs of the city’s growing, diverse population and the challenges that come with increased program demands and new technologies, the Foundation has determined that a new, larger library facility must be secured. The new facility first and foremost will provide: much needed additional parking; increased security; larger spaces for collections, seating, computers, children’s programs, and public meeting rooms; community resources; and more efficient heating, cooling and lighting. Additionally, it was determined that with a new library facility, an enhanced partnership will be fostered with the Petersburg Public System, as well as civilian and military personnel at Fort Lee.
A new library facility will provide valuable resources and services needed for the citizens of Petersburg including educational support initiatives for accreditation of schools, literacy programs to ensure that all children meet mandated guidelines for reading proficiency and community support programs that foster growth and continual exposure to information within the global society.
The Foundation decided to take action now because of a fortuitous meeting of opportunity and need. Thanks to the generosity of former city councilman and Vice Mayor of Petersburg Larry Tucker, the Foundation was able to purchase property owned by Tucker at the corner of West Washington and Market streets worth $1.4 million for only $400,000. The approximately three-acre site is the former location of Petersburg Motors, owned by Tucker.
In order for the Foundation to take advantage of the gift, Petersburg City Council unanimously voted on September 19, 2006 to give the Foundation the necessary $400,000 to make the purchase.
The new library will be built in two phases. Phase I, commencing summer of 2012, will house all the components of the main library will stand at approximately 45,000 square feet. The remaining space will be set aside for future expansion (Phase II). Phase II of the project will contain the multi-purpose conference center, an auditorium large enough to seat several hundred people for city and community gatherings. The present library facility on S. Sycamore Street is being considered for continued use in support of the new library, possibly as a location for specified collections.
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