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Nothing beats the company of a good book

Ashby Ponds library one of the hot spots on campus

Created date

August 23rd, 2011
The love of learning, the sequestered nooks, And all the sweet serenity of books. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Weeks before moving into their newAshby Pondsapartment home, in October 2008, pioneer community members John and Dottie Kraft began planning for a community library. We did some research before we moved in on how to make a new community warm and accepting to all residents, says John. We learned that it is very important to get people involved immediately. So, we got to work on planning a variety of clubs and activities, including the library, which we asked to start the week before we moved in.

Welcome addition

Dottie, a retired Fairfax County public school librarian, knew instinctively that a library would be an essential and welcome addition to the brand newErickson Living communitylocated in Ashburn, Va. A good library has the potential to bring people together, says Dottie. I wanted our library to house vibrant and current resources rather than an old, dusty collection. That would ensure that people would want to come and would keep coming back.

Organization is key

The first step to success was requesting book donations of titles with copyrights less than ten years old. That ensured that we would have fresh material, says Dottie. Quickly, the library garnered a large collection of current fiction titles in hardback, paperback, and large print. But that alone would not make the library complete. A magazine collection was started and the library now boasts a collection of 133 magazine titles. DVDs and CDs were also sought out as well as a compilation of relevant medical and support group resources, including books, medical school newsletters, and pamphlets.

Professional experts on hand

As the collection grew, so did the number of professional librarians moving to Ashby Ponds. Dottie was soon aided in her efforts by Lyn Knapp, Evie Eisenhard, and Mary Means, all of whom had worked as professional librarians in the Fairfax County Public School system and have master s degrees in library science. All the librarians welcomed me with open arms, says Mary, the latest to join the group. I quickly agreed to help out. The library is a wonderful place to spend time. People are always coming in and out. It s just a wonderful atmosphere to spend time in. One of the biggest benefits the professional librarians offer is expert organization of material. It s easy to find what you are looking for quickly, says John. We have a computer in the library with files that list all of the titles and authors available in the current collection. Ashby Ponds librarians, along with a dedicated resident library committee, carefully weed through inventory every month. When a title is removed from the library s shelves, it is offered to the residents, free of charge. Anything that is not claimed is donated. What I love about the library is the variety it offers, says Al Beyer. You can find books on all different kinds of topics. There is a nice selection of fiction and new material coming in all the time. I like to read a few titles a week and I m always able to find something new and interesting here.

Hub of activity

Thanks to the professionalism and dedication of the library team, the library quickly became a hub of activity at Ashby Ponds. Because we are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, we find people enjoying the library at all hours of the day, says Dottie. Some couples routinely meet here after dinner to talk and enjoy the company of a good book. I m really happy that we have been able to provide the members of the Ashby Ponds community with a great place to either curl up with a good book or find something of interest to take home with them, she adds. We work hard to make sure we have something for everyone.