Having a library in the center of your community is something that residents of Avalon Park Wesley Chapel truly love and value. The New River Library, a branch of the Pasco County Libraries system, is located on State Road 54, at the west entrance to the Wesley Chapel community.
The New River Library is currently going through a complete renovation and expansion of its building and outdoor areas, and also is upgrading its technology capabilities. When completed this fall, it will be a showpiece for all of Pasco County.
When the New River Library re-opens, visitors will love its modern new look, covered walkway entry, much faster Internet speeds, expanded youth areas, and a makerspace that opens into a shaded classroom for outdoor activities.
Library patrons can expect “a complete re-imagining from top to bottom,” including space for do-it-yourself activities and gardening programs hosted by master gardeners or Pasco County Extension agents, said Bob Harrison, marketing program manager for Pasco County Libraries.
The New River Library will re-open with its garden area greatly expanded from six raised beds to 26 beds. About half will be used for workshops and demonstrations, and the rest will be available to people who want to grow flowers or vegetables.
“It’s really kind of neat that the library team gave us this opportunity,” said Judy Curran, the library’s youth services provider.
Curran made the first plantings at the original New River Library in 2014, when employees were encouraged to adopt a special project. Curran’s garden idea received an enthusiastic response as soon as she posted it on the library bulletin board, and flowers and vegetables soon sprouted with help from a dozen youth and adult volunteers.
Also, new at the library is a unique children’s activity, Story Walk, which will encourage children to follow a winding path where they will stop at stations and read pages from a storybook.
“I think Story Walk is going to bring even more people when we reopen,” Curran said. “This little idea I had has really expanded.”
To encourage full use of the library’s new capabilities, a new employee is being added who will be assigned to community outreach and helping organize library events.
Funding for the renovations is from General Obligation bonds approved by voters in November 2018. For information on New River and video on renovations, visit Facebook.com/newriverlibrary.
Published June 24, 2020