The New Kent branch of the Heritage Public Library is in need of a permanent site. When the previous building fell into disrepair in 2008, the library relocated to a strip mall as a temporary solution. The library has been serving residents in this temporary space, a rental property next to a Subway, ever since.
This fall, a site for the new Rappahannock Community College was established in New Kent with the understanding that a library would be established in the courthouse area so community college students would have easy access to it. As a result, the New Kent Board of Supervisors proposed moving the current library into the basement cafeteria of the county’s old middle school building. The site is vacant, but in need of substantial renovations at a cost yet to be disclosed.
In the mean time, developer John Adamson proposed relocating the New Kent library to the Maidstone community, which is also in the vicinity of the community college. This proposal entails the county’s purchase and renovation of a former bank building, totaling approximately $750,000. The purchase is supported by many New Kent citizens, for it offers not only a more inviting space but also easy access to local businesses and three of New Kent County’s public schools.
On a related note, the New Kent County School District recently budgeted for students in grades sixth through twelve to have a Google Chromebook, similar to programs in Chesterfield County and Henrico County. While this technology initiative is exciting, only 50 percent of New Kent residents have access to broadband, so its impact is extremely limited since Google Chromebooks require the Internet to be fully functional. Should the New Kent branch of the Heritage Public Library relocate to the Maidstone bank building, students would be able to walk to the library after school. The site would allow students and other community members to take advantage of the library’s free wi-fi as well as resources, like tutoring services, meeting space, and, of course, book lending and research.
A decision will likely be made soon since the library’s current lease expires January 2017. For updates on the status of the New Kent library, visit the Heritage Public Library page on Facebook.