Tazewell County Public Library

Richlands Library Revitalization Project

Currently, the Richlands library is in need of some major updates and repairs to better serve its citizens. The Tazewell County Public Library Foundation commissioned a facilities study in 2020 that provided information for the current plan of action.

The revitalization project will take place over three phases:
Phase 1: Replace and Repair the existing exterior on the building. Replace the windows.
Phase 2: Renovate the three upper floors of the building. Install a wheelchair lift between the first and second floors.
Phase 3: Build an addition on the back of the building.

Picture of a mock up of the Richlands Library once it is revitalized

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Background

Beginning in the 1960s, Freya Dalton voluntarily operated a station library in a building she owned on Washington Square in Richlands. She provided many books herself and gathered donations from the community to stock this library. Building on her early work, the Richlands Area Friends of the Library, formed in the early 1980s under the leadership of Dr. John C. Willis, worked ceaselessly to obtain a library in the community. The Friends acquired the Dr. W. R. Williams house on Suffolk Avenue, and privately raised the funds to renovate it.

Constructed in 1890 for the offices of Clinch Valley Coal and Iron Company, this building later became the residence and hospital of Dr. W. R. Williams. In 1983, the Williams family donated this property, listed on the Virginia Historic Landmarks Register, to the Town of Richlands for use as a library. This facility opened 1 October 1984.

Architect for the renovation of this building was Cameron Wolfe and contractor was Henry Nickels, Inc. It was first known as the Western District Branch, then as the Maiden Spring Branch and, now, as the Richlands Branch of Tazewell County Public Library. The Richlands Women’s Club provided recently installed the library sign, which is visible from both Front Street and Suffolk Avenue.

This site is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services. It is managed by the The Library of Virginia Library Development and Networking Division.