As Danville’s Westover Library Branch Closes, New Mobile Service Launches | Local News

The Westover branch of the Ruby B. Archie Public Library, which had been closed for over a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will not reopen.

Danville officials decided not to renew the property’s lease after it expired earlier this month.

Instead, the library system offers a Bookin’ It mobile library service that travels throughout the city.

“We saw this as an opportunity to provide equitable service throughout the community,” Danville Parks and Recreation Director Bill Sgrinia told the Danville Register & Bee Thursday afternoon. “We’ve been running it and doing promotional setups for about a month, taking it to different events. It’s a rolling mobile hotspot.

The Parks and Recreation Department oversees the Ruby B. Archie Public Library.

Even before the pandemic hit in March 2020, the Westover branch was operating limited hours — just three days a week — due to understaffing, said library manager Russell Carter. No one lost their job as a result of the closure.

The cost of running the branch was around $60,000 to $70,000 per year, including $12,855 per year to lease the property to a private landowner. The building, located at 94 Clifton St. near Westover Drive, is about 1,000 square feet, Sgrinia said.

The city had leased the property for the Westover branch since the early 2000s, Carter said.

Danville received $47,534 in CARES Act funding to pay for mobile library service. Having mobile service and keeping the Westover branch open was not financially feasible, Sgrinia said.

“It would have taken additional funds to do that,” he said.

City Manager Ken Larking said the city is considering opening another location for a branch in Westover.

However, the location of the branch has not been determined, he said.

“If the city is going to have a fixed location for a library, it makes more sense to own the property where the library is,” Larking said. “We are looking at having a fixed location that serves the Westover area.”

The library has hired a community outreach coordinator to talk to community members to find out what services they need from the library, Carter said.

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