(Ashburn, Va.) - Establishing a community library was one of the first initiatives that John and Dottie Kraft took on when moving to Ashby Ponds. The library opened during the first week of October 2008, just days after the first residents moved into the new community. Shortly thereafter, a Library Committee was formed at Ashby Ponds in order to complete a variety of tasks from shelving materials to repairing books to maintaining inventory. Today, the Committee is made up of about 30 residents. “The library is an important and valuable asset to the community,” said Dottie Kraft.
The library has proved to be a very popular amenity at Ashby Ponds. “There has been about a 1,000 count increase in circulation every year,” said Committee member Lyn Knapp. Knapp indicates that in its first year, the library circulated 3,300 items; in 2010, the number rose to 4,100 and in 2011, about 5,300 items were checked out. The Committee expects to find another increase in the 2012 totals. “We think our library is very functional and the residents love it,” said Knapp.
The last inventory of the library taken in January of 2013 showed 5,657 books, 689 DVDs, 830 CDs (music and books on CD), and 133 different magazine titles. “We are constantly surprised at the new items that residents donate to the library,” said Knapp. Committee members use the Dewey Decimal System to catalog the thousands of items in the library, the same structure used by Loudoun County Public Library system.
The library is full of current materials, with a majority having a copyright date within the last ten years; there are, however, some exceptions. “Classics, in very good condition, are shelved in spite of copyright date,” said Knapp.
One of the most interesting features of the library is the fact that nearly two dozen of the catalogued books are from published authors who live at Ashby Ponds. One of those authors, Roderick Grant, has published four books of poetry, all of which can be checked out of the Ashby Ponds library. “I was a career Foreign Service Officer in the State Department and during my career lived many years overseas in various countries,” said Grant. “Since my retirement, I have continued to travel extensively. Many of my poems draw directly from this experience, but many more are drawn from the thought and observation of life that are an indirect reflection of this experience.” Grant published one of his books since moving to Ashby Ponds and is currently working on a fifth book.
John Kraft, who worked to establish the library at Ashby Ponds, is also a published author himself. “I knew there were other writers like me living here,” said Kraft. He and Grant are both members of the Ashby Ponds Writing Group, which celebrates reading, writing, and rhetoric at the community. “It's a vibrant group of people,” said Kraft. “ I always find it a joy to spend time together.”
The Library Committee at Ashby Ponds also provides an avenue for other services such as library tours and a partnership with the Loudoun County Public Library System. “Dottie regularly gives a tour of the library which helps new residents understand how materials are shelved, how to find items, and the advantages of the library,” said Knapp. Additionally, the Committee organizes twice-monthly visits by the Loudoun County Public Library Outreach Program, where librarians bring requested books, magazines, DVDs, and other items to Ashby Ponds.
About Ashby Ponds: Ashby Ponds, one of 16 retirement communities managed by Erickson Living, is situated on a scenic 132-acre campus in Ashburn, Virginia (approximately 30 miles west of Washington, D.C.). The community is home to over 700 residents and is filled with fascinating people and fantastic opportunities. With over 100 resident-run and resident-driven clubs and groups, an indoor pool, a fitness club, transportation services, 24-hour security, and flexible dining options, life at Ashby Ponds offers a true sense of community and is an exciting alternative to the typical retirement community. More information about Ashby Ponds can be found at: www.ericksonliving.com.