Southwest Wake News

Fuquay-Varina wants feedback on new library

Wake County wants to give the town a new library, thanks to its loyal patrons and the town’s fast growth.

Fuquay-Varina’s is one of the smallest libraries of the 20 operated by Wake County. The town could soon see an expanded library, with Wake County planning to double the size of the library and add thousands of books, e-books and other titles.

Jason Horton, an analyst for Wake County and the library system, updated town commissioners on the plans in early November.

The 50-year-old library is 4,400 square feet and sits on the outskirts of downtown, at 133 S. Fuquay Ave. The expansion could occur there or at a new site.

“We have not made a decision to move from the current location,” Horton said. “It is still in consideration.”

He said the current property is small, but that finding a larger property within easy driving distance of a large number of residents also could be a problem.

There will be an open house at the library Thursday, Nov. 19 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Residents can drop by to learn more about future library plans.

Town officials also expect to hear a more detailed plan from the county in January or February.

“We appreciate your interest in Fuquay-Varina,” Mayor John Byrne told Horton after his recent presentation. “And we look forward to the outcome.”

Horton said the county prefers larger tracts of land because it allows libraries to remain one-story buildings. Multi-story libraries cost more money to build and to operate, require more staff and cut down on the amount of space that can be put to use because of the need for additional bathrooms and elevators.

But he said the county wouldn’t want to build a new library in a remote area if that’s the only place where enough space can be found.

“Once you get beyond about a 10-minute drive, the chance that you’ll go to the library drops by about 25 percent,” he said.

If any town were to break the mold, though, it could be Fuquay-Varina, he said. Horton listed statistics for several programs at the library and said they’re very well-attended.

“Those numbers are higher than the averages at libraries twice its size,” he said.

Countywide, interest in libraries has shifted in the last several years, according to an internal report.

The numbers of total visitors and active cardholders have declined since 2013. Attendance numbers for youth and adult programs, however, have increased.

Fuquay-Varina Town Manager Adam Mitchell said the town believes Wake County will begin building the new library in about a year, with a goal to open it in fall 2017.

This library would be paid for with money the county borrowed in 2007 when voters approved a $45 million bond for new library construction.

Horton said Fuquay-Varina could eventually get a large, regional library – like the Eva Perry Library in Apex or Raleigh’s Cameron Village library – but that would only be possible after another similar bond referendum.

Doran: 919-460-2604; Twitter: @will_doran