New Varina Area Library now open (and awesome)

Henrico County adds another jewel to its magnificent library crown with the opening of the new Varina Area Branch.

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“So what did you think of it?” my husband asked when I mentioned my recent trip to Henrico County’s new Varina Area Library.

“Well,” I sighed. “If we had our wedding to do over again, I’d seriously consider having it there.”

Varina Area Library opened to the public on Wednesday, June 1st and officially opened for business the following day. It replaces the Varina Branch Library which permanently closed its door on May 17th. The new, $28 million facility was made possible by the 2005 Henrico Bond Referendum, which also funded renovations on the Glen Allen and Gayton branches and the construction of Libbie Mill Library.

Located on 22.11 acres nestled between Pocahontas Parkway and New Market Road, Varina Area Library is 43,885 square feet of beauty surrounded by woods and wetlands. A sprawling lawn peppered with benches allows for plenty of time spent outside reading. And should you need to stretch your legs, just hop onto the outdoor walking trail that links up with the Virginia Capital Trail.

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Inside it’s all glass and light, with an open floor plan that feels more museum than library. Everything is just so…lovely. But, of course, this is a library; it’s not all about looks. It’s about form and function, my friends.

Several personal study nooks1 share the main floor with an open space for public use computers, a digital media lab (3D printers, what UP?!), glass-walled meeting areas, and a quiet reading room. You’ll also find an area specifically designed with teenagers in mind, boasting a teen-specific collection of materials, as well as study and group collaboration rooms.

The children’s section-featuring an extensive and up-to-date collection2-is located downstairs, but it feels very much part of the building. A bright, open atrium serves as the entrance to the children’s section and also features a wooden stairs/benches situation that could function as reading space or possibly as seating for the libraries many story times and special events.

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Other fancy features at Varina Area Library include:

  • Drive-up book return and pickup window
  • Self checkout (and returns!)
  • Updated technology and devices throughout the facility3
  • Demonstration kitchen

Varina Area Library is located at 1875 New Market Road in Henrico. It’s open Monday through Thursday, 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM, and from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM on Fridays and Saturdays. For more information on the library, its offerings, and jam-packed schedule of events, check out the Henrico County Public Library website.

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  1. They’re basically high-backed chairs that function as a study carrels…really comfy-cozy ones, though. 
  2. Multiple copies of books and DVDs, you guys. Multiple. I brought home Toy Story AND Toy Story 2 on the same day! 
  3. Example: tablets mounted throughout the children’s section for easy searching! No more wrangling kids to and fro as you look up the name of that book that your friend talked about that one time! 
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Valerie Catrow

Valerie Catrow is editor of RVAFamily, mother to a mop-topped first grader, and always really excited to go to bed.

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