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The Roanoke Times Has this nice story on how well the
Chesapeake Public Library System is doing.
an article in the magazine American Libraries ranked the
Chesapeake system seventh best in the nation among libraries
serving a population between 100,000 and 250,000.
On the local level, 99.4 percent of Chesapeake\'s
residents approve of their library service, the highest mark
earned by any branch of the city\'s government.
Librarians in the Chesapeake and Rappahannock systems
attribute their successes to a few common traits. Both
libraries are almost obsessed with giving patrons what they
want. Both have dynamic leaders willing to play politics in
the fight for funding. Both have spent efficiently. Both
emphasize creative presentation. And both serve communities
with an abiding interest in improving quality of life.
Roanoke librarians wish their system could achieve the
same level of esteem. No one would describe its main branch
on Jefferson Street as heavenly. With shadowy corners,
cramped stacks and a bland paint job, it more closely
resembles a giant old storage locker.
The Roanoke system\'s flaws have been publicized before.
But the real question remains: Can Roanoke transform its
aging libraries into a point of pride?
Yes, says Peggy Stillman, Chesapeake\'s city librarian.
And she doesn\'t even know the particulars of the problem.