UPDATE: What Roanoke County is spending on its new libraries - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

UPDATE: What Roanoke County is spending on its new libraries

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ROANOKE COUNTY -

12:29 p.m.

It's equipped with computers, lounges, meeting rooms, even a cafe.

The South County Library is becoming a gem for Roanoke County. While books still fill the shelves, the new facility is about much more.

"Libraries are no longer just a box of books," said Richard Caywood, Roanoke County's Assistant Administrator. "Now people expect programming, a lot of computer services."

Caywood, who is heavily involved in the new Vinton Library project, said both South County and the recently opened Glenvar libraries have seen a jump in visitors compared to their former locations.

"I do think that the public is certainly enjoying the new facilities," he said. "We do look at libraries as a core service of county government."

But it's a service that isn't cheap.

It cost more than $16 million to build South County and more than $6 million to build Glenvar.

Plus, there's the new Vinton Library where construction will begin in the spring.

That comes with a price tag of more than $9 million.

In all, more than $31 million in taxpayer money has or will be spent on building new libraries.

"You've got to build your infrastructure. You've got to build for the future and I think it's going to pay dividends for many, many years to come," said Roanoke County Supervisor Butch Church, a strong advocate of the projects.

Church said he understands some of the criticism given the high cost, but added the libraries serve as community centers and economic drivers.

"I really believe when we have outside organizations coming in here, companies, (and) they're looking for places like this in the community," he said.

Places that come with a hefty price, but are expected to serve the community for years to come.

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Roanoke County is spending tens of millions of dollars to build several new libraries.

Over the last two years, South County and Glenvar libraries opened their doors.

Construction on a third project, the Vinton library, is already underway.

When all is said and done the county will have spent more than $31 million in taxpayer money.

Assistant County Administrator Richard Caywood said the libraries have been well received.

"I do think that the public is certainly enjoying the new facilities," Caywood said. "We do look at libraries as a core service of county government."

Coming up tonight on WSLS 10 at 6 p.m.,we'll take a closer look at the projects and why the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors said it's money well spent.

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