Well before Manassas Park opened a new reading room at the city’s community center on Adams Street on Tuesday, the local business community was offering support for the effort to get more books –both the printed and electronic— into the hands of residents.
“If you have an idea that is a good idea, then you will get donations,” said Catherine Morretta, Manassas Park director of the parks and recreation. “We are lucky because we have a very generous business community.”
The Manassas Park City Council on Tuesday night cut the ribbon on the Manassas Park Community Center Reading Lounge, a converted office space at the entrance of the community center. Stuffed with books lent from the Prince William County Library System and seven Nooks donated by local businesses, the lounge offers a quiet breathing space in an otherwise busy facility.
Residents can grab a book to take home or sit down and scroll through a Nook. Comfortable armchairs have been set up for adults while big red bean-bag chairs can accommodate the youngsters. And, the lounge is closer than the nearest library branch, which is about 1.5 miles from the community center.
The city has been working on setting up the reading lounge for the past six months, Morretta said. Because most items were donated and the lounge occupies a repurposed space, the costs were negligible, she said.
“This makes it easier for our people to access what is going on and gives them a chance to get a book while they are waiting at the center,” Councilman William J. Treuting, Jr., said. “And, they can return the books to any of the libraries within the system.”
The reading lounge represents a significant expansion for the county’s library system without the expense of building a brand new brick-and-mortar structure, said Marty Nohe, Prince William County supervisor.
“This is really exciting,” Nohe told the crowd at the event on Tuesday. “It’s exciting because it represents an investment in this community and an investment in our partnerships with this community. It’s these partnerships between the county and our independent cities that make Prince William County great.”