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Culpeper Library Expands Monday Evening Hours, Meeting Rooms and Bookstore Open Again | Recent news

The Culpeper County Public Library is now open until 8 p.m. Monday as it, like other public institutions, slowly returns to extended hours after a long pandemic hiatus.

The local library, moreover, is looking to add an outdoor seating area with funds from the US bailout.

Culpeper County Grants Administrator Laura Loveday floated the idea at Tuesday’s meeting of the Board of Supervisors’ Buildings and Grounds Committee. Grant money is available through additional federal aid funds distributed, based on population, by the Library of Virginia.

The Culpeper County Library is eligible for about $22,000, she told the committee. While the local library has offered and expanded locations for accessing public wifi over the past year and started lending hotspots for unlimited home access, one thing it hasn’t been able to offer during COVID-19 was outdoor seating, Loveday said.

There is possible space for that, she added, behind the building in the Southgate shopping centre. A door at the back of the library in the adult reading section near the bookstore leads to a patio that could be converted to outdoor seating, Loveday said.

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However, modifications will be required, including an awning. She noted that when she and library director Gregg Grunow visited the space recently, the uncovered patio was almost “as hot as the surface of the sun,” Loveday said.

“We could barely get out to take these photos,” she said, presenting images from space today.

The staff offered to install a commercial awning over the area and add furniture, thanks to a grant from the Library of Virginia.

While Cedar Mountain supervisor Jack Frazier thought it was a good idea, like other committee members, he wanted answers about fully reopening the library. He said he received many phone calls from constituents “concerned that the library is not open yet – is it?” asked Frazier.

Grunow responded that the library was not back at full capacity with all of its nighttime hours as it had been offered in the past, that it was open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. six days a week during the pandemic. He said those hours were consistent with other public libraries in Virginia.

The local librarian said from this week they are now open Mondays until 8pm. Also this week, the library reopened its reading rooms and conference rooms as well as the Friends of the Library bookstore.

“So we’re getting there,” Grunow said. “I worked last night until 8 p.m. to see how our first night back was.”

Frazier asked about the still limited spaces in the library. Grunow replied, “We’re not there yet.”

CDC guidelines for using and sanitizing upholstered furniture haven’t changed, Grunow said.

“We’re using the plastic meeting room furniture, which is easier to sanitize,” he said, adding that he remains hesitant to reintroduce fabric-covered pieces “until something changes.” terms of public health guidelines.

Frazier responded that many in the county are deeply dependent on the library and can use its facilities.

“People desperately need it,” he said. “If you can get those services back quickly, people will appreciate it.”

Grunow said he hears it every day and the library has just hired another person, which should help, while a few other staff positions remain frozen.

“We’re trying to get our volunteer situation in order, keeping tabs on everything that comes from state and local government,” the librarian said. “At the top of my head every day.”

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