There have always been countless reasons to love a library: Tall shelves that envelop you on all sides, filled with the essential information you were hunting for as well as nuggets of wisdom and wonder you didn’t even know you needed. Dim corners with squishy armchairs, a place to check out of daily life into a fantastical story and steal whispers from a friend who simply must recommend a favorite mystery novel. Staff who, long before the Internet offered fast, impersonal answers, could point you in the direction of what you needed, a glimmer in their eye as though they were giving you a clue to a grand puzzle.
West Virginians are familiar with these respites around the state that range in size from less than 1,000 square feet to over 60,000. These buildings may have begun as a resource for books, but it’s clearer than ever that they are determined to adapt alongside the communities they serve.