Work to improve local libraries paying off

New data shows program attendance, visitation way up

ROANOKE, Va. – Work to improve local libraries is paying off.

According to new data, visitation at the Williamson Road branch library in Roanoke has increased 30 percent compared to the last full year before it was renovated.

Program attendance has also grown almost 100 percent.

The library was reopened about two years ago after a nearly $4 million renovation.

Roanoke Library Director Sheila Umberger says the new Melrose branch library, which opened last month, had a hugely successful event Thursday night that has a lot of people saying they want to come back.

"What we've learned is, when we have a lot of community engagement, then people learn about us and get excited about us. We actually did over two years of planning this branch," Umberger said.

The new data will be discussed at the city's planning commission meeting on Tuesday.