LIBRARY

The Pembroke Library

Pembroke, Virginia

The Pembroke Library is about nine feet wide by thirty feet long.It’s a full lending library, with four thousand books, two computers, a dozen movies, and, for almost fifteen years, the same congenial librarian, Claire Robertson.With no telephone and restricted hours—it’s open only two hours a day, four days a week—the place is tricky to visit.

For a very long time, the building sat on Main Street beside the historic Pembroke Hotel. A few years ago, the telephone co-op bought the land (for $1) for a new parking lot. The hotel was razed in the name of parking progress, but the bank around the corner agreed to let the Library sit on its lot.So a moving crew came over with a flatbed, lifted up the Library, and unceremoniously plopped it down around the corner. Claire and a friend personally moved all of the books to their basements before the transition, storing them until the new shelves were properly bolted down.

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—Benjamin Cohen

Benjamin Cohen is an assistant professor at the University of Virginia. He lives near Charlottesville with his wife, Chris, and two children. They all remain exceptional.

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