Chinn Library is Celebrating 25 Years of Service to the Community

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Provided by Prince William County

Chinn Park library

Elmer Christian is a retired federal government employee who lives in Westridge. He and his family have been visiting Chinn Park Regional Library since his children were small.  “As kids, they liked coming here. As they got older, they came here because of school assignments. I’ve been coming here for better than 20 years. It has everything I need. My wife loves it. She comes to get books all the time. I come to do research and read the paper.”
Christian and his family aren’t the only ones who have been patrons of the library for a long time. Many families have been coming to the library since it opened in 1991. Chinn Park Regional Library turns 25 this year, and the library plans to celebrate with a mini festival on Saturday, Oct. 22 between 11:00 a. m. and 3:00 p. m. All patrons — past, current and future — are invited to attend.
There will be plenty to do at the celebration. “It’s a book sale and mini festival. We’ll have a petting zoo, face painting, live music, food, story time, games and crafts for kids of all ages. The Friends of the Library will also hold a book sale between 10:00 a. m. and 4:30 p. m. that day. We’re asking everyone to please come celebrate with us and bring the whole family,” said Andrew Spence, Communication Services Division Chief of the Library System.
When the 25,000-square-foot library opened on Oct. 26, 1991, it was a big deal. It was the first regional library to be built in Prince William County; and even though it was raining, members of the community, several dignitaries and library staff were in attendance. Everyone at the opening, patrons and employees alike, loved the new library with its distinctive architecture and open interior layout. “It was beautiful. The architecture alone – we didn’t have a building like this in the county. Even now, people will come in and say, ‘This is the most beautiful building,'” said Missy Fraser, who started with the library system in 1985 as a page shelving books at Potomac Community Library and is now Chinn Park Regional Library’s circulation section supervisor.
Deborah Wright has been with the library system for as long Chinn Park Regional Library has been around. She came to the system 25 years ago as a children’s services supervisor and started working at Potomac Community Library just before Chinn opened. She saw firsthand the need for a new library in the growing county. “Potomac was just bursting at the seams, so it was great to have another full-service library on the eastern end of the county. When we did story time registration, moms would be lined up out in the parking lot way before we opened. On Sunday afternoons the kids would be propped up, sitting against the walls doing their homework because there was no seating for them. Potomac was very busy, so when Chinn opened it took some of the load off.”
Today, Chinn Park Regional Library consistently registers as the county’s busiest library. The library offers children’s, young adult and adult material and programs, a quiet study room, two individual study rooms, a community room, 32 public-access computers and MAGIC, the Management and Government Information Center. MAGIC, which is a free service, can help patrons find documents, journals, clipping files from local newspaper articles and a variety of electronic resources.
And it’s not just the older patrons that enjoy the library. Shaqwan Blanks likes to visit Chinn, where she reads and helps her 2-year-old son, Kyaire, solve children’s’ jigsaw puzzles. “I like how easygoing it is. It’s just a comfortable environment for kids and adults.”
Wright, now the assistant director of the library system, said that the staff at Chinn hit the ground running as soon as the library opened. “They did a lot of great programming from the start because they had experienced staff. They really reached out and met the community’s needs from the get go.”
For more information about Chinn Park Regional Library, visit pwcgov.org/library.
 
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