It was a moment of celebration Wednesday, as leaders from City of Norfolk and the community came together during a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Richard A. Tucker Memorial Library.
The new library, set to be 17,000 square feet, will be a first in the Campostella area.
Janice McKee, President of the Campostella Civic League, said she and the community have pushed to have a library in the area for years.
“We have so long looked forward to having a place where children could come to the library on this side of the track,” said McKee.
“All my life, we went to the other side of the track.”
Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander said the new library is an important milestone for the city.
“Libraries are smart investments for our city, they transform our city and they make communities more livable and attractive. The city is committed to continue to transform lives,” said Alexander.
The library will join the property’s Southside STEM Academy at Campostella and the Southside Aquatics Center.
“I’m ecstatic! If I could do cartwheels I would,” said McKee.
But this library has a unique purpose — the goal is for it to go beyond the books. Once complete, it’ll feature a 5,000-square-foot Nature Explorium, an outdoor area aimed toward providing an active learning experience for children and adults.
It’ll also include a children’s library with a “KidZone,” a large computer lab, meeting and collaboration rooms, and a reading patio.
Sonal Rastogi, Director of Libraries for the City of Norfolk, said the library was designed with the end goal of serving a greater purpose.
“It’s not just about books and materials, it’s really about people gathering, coming together from all walks of life,” said Rastogi.
McKee sees community unity as an opportunity to create change.
“I think one of the bigger things I want people in the City of Norfolk to know, is that we, as a unit in this city, could make this the greatest city in the United States,” she said.