It’s been a long and dreary 22 months since the Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library closed for an overhaul. Now those dreams of a new library are a reality as a modernized collection and sleek new setting have local readers aflutter with excitement.
“This is not simply a remodeling job,” Daniela Dixon, the library’s new manager who brings with her 15 years of experience, told the News-Press in a phone interview last week. “There’s a real passion we feel for books and reading, and working in a library is a great way to make a living.”
On Saturday beginning at 10 a.m., book and library lovers alike will fling open the doors and celebrate the reopening of the new and improved (“refreshed” in library parlance) Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library which will have a formal ribbon-cutting, music, story hour, all day technology open house, refreshments and best of all, the unveiling of new features in sparkling space.
Using the same 24,521 sq. ft. footprint of the former library, the new design presents a better configuration of space and resource uses with more meeting rooms, natural lighting, a large children’s area, a double gaming console setup for teens to use with headsets or with sound off, an early literacy station for preschoolers and group study rooms. The library’s new look brings with it new opportunities for the community to engage with learning materials, though roughly the same number of staff will be employed at the location.
“We have much more meeting space,” Dixon said. “One of the meeting rooms can be divided into two rooms, and we have a conference room with a table and 12 chairs. There are two group study rooms and private study rooms which are glass enclosed and study carrels.”
To meet demands of the many Spanish speaking residents nearby, the new library has added a story hour in Spanish and a native Spanish assistant to its youth services department, according to Dixon.
It was almost 32 years ago on October 26, 1985 when the Tysons-Pimmit Regional Branch opened with 80,000 books and materials. The new collection numbers about 100,000 with more non-fiction titles to meet customer requests.
“Everything on the shelves will look like they are brand new. It’s been totally refurbished. Newer copies have been added, and we have brand new titles coming in,” Dixon added. “The staff and I cannot wait for our customers to enjoy this new space. And we have a lot of excellent events planned for this fall and winter.”
The library was rebuilt according to green standards adopted by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 2008, and its retrofit used the facility’s main shell which meant reduced waste in the landfill.
The new library is LEED-certified which means it meets strict environmental and energy criteria while simultaneously offering people a healthy setting for work and study.
Thirty percent of the building’s construction materials came from within 500 miles which helped lower transportation costs, and 65 percent of construction waste was recycled.
Energy saving designs, including water reduction in the restrooms and LED lighting, forecast a lower energy bill by 26 percent.
Janelle Blanchard is president of the Friends of Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library who helped manage the book sales that funded the Friends’ $30,000 donation toward new new library materials.
The Friends are also providing opening day refreshments although Blacnhard’s heard that Trader Joe’s is coming, too, to help give out treats.
This week the group is hurrying to finish the landscaping which falls under its purview, with necessary responsibilities to maintain, weed, water and beautify on its calendar.
(The Friends could use a few more helping hands and at $5 a year to join, it may be the cheapest bargain in town.)
Fairfax County’s library marketing director, Mary Mulrenan, applauds voters who supported a 2012 bond referendum which allowed the Tyson’s’ library renovation and other Farifax County library remakes, too.
County residents “think so highly of this important resource, even people who don’t use libraries value lifelong learning. ‘I love libraries’ is a universal feeling,” Mulrenan said.
“People need electricity. We had a lot of older equipment. Now we are able to catch up with consumer demand.” Mulrenan continued. “The renovation allows us to serve customers better and have a 21st century space for them to work in.”
The Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library is located at 7584 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church.