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Roanoke’s historic Gainsboro Library reopens with a new look

It now offers a teen center and a community room

Gainsboro Library reopens in Roanoke
Gainsboro Library reopens in Roanoke

ROANOKE, Va. – Roanoke’s Gainsboro Branch Library is officially back open to the public with a new look.

City and library leaders cut the ribbon on the newly-renovated library Tuesday morning.

It features a new teen center and community room along with new technology, furniture, shelving and books.

They also preserved the history of the library, which has been an important stakeholder in the Black community for 100 years.

“People will tell us they came here as children and they’re 80 and 90 years old and they brought their own children and grandchildren, so the heart of the community is definitely in this building,” said Sheila Umberger, Roanoke’s director of libraries.

Other events are planned for this week to celebrate the re-opening. A Cafe Night Program including live music and food is happening Thursday at 6 p.m.

A Juneteenth Celebration with a walking tour around the Gainsboro neighborhood led by local historian Jordan Bell is happening Friday at 10 a.m.

On Thursday, June 24, there will be a lecture and book signing with author and former mayor Nelson Harris, speaking on Roanoke’s Black History in the 1940s, based on the research for his book “The Roanoke Valley in the 1940s.”

About the Author:

Jessica anchors 10 News on Saturdays and Sundays at 6 and 11 p.m. You can also catch her reporting during the week.