The library at Lakewood Senior Living Community

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Lakewood Dedicates Library to Resident Ann R. Smith

“I don’t know anything about libraries, but you learn a lot when you do something like this,” said resident Ann Smith, the namesake of the new library center.

When asked why she embarked on the project, Ann said simply, “I wanted to read the bestsellers and, at the time, Lakewood had none of them.”

When she started, Ann had 80 books in a temporary space. Now the Ann R. Smith Library Center, located in the newly renovated Main Street area, has more than 1,400 books including the large-print collection that was donated by Ann. She calls it a read-for-fun library consisting mainly of bestsellers and books by popular authors.

On October 8, dozens gathered in the new space for a dedication ceremony, champagne toast and hors d’oeuvres. Ann said having the library named in her honor was a very humbling experience.

“I certainly didn’t expect this when I started, but it really is my baby. I’m here every single day,” she said.

Ann served Henrico County as an elementary school teacher for several decades at Bethlehem/Charles M. Johnson Elementary School. She has given both her time and financial support to enrich the lives of her family, county and Lakewood.

“I had never read a book cover to cover until I retired,” Ann said. “I found that I love to read. I’m reading 15-18 books a month. I read a lot of them before I put them down here.”

She isn’t the only one taking advantage of the new library. In fact, so many people are using it Ann had to enlist the help of more than 30 volunteers. In addition to the library center itself, Lakewood recently opened a new solarium in the Main Street area where library patrons can enjoy the books they have selected.

“We are so grateful to Ann who spends countless hours in the library ordering, processing, organizing and shelving books for the enjoyment of residents and team members,” said Virginia Baptist Home Foundation Vice President Jodi Leonard. “She is one who sees a need and steps in to fulfill it with her generous donation of time, work and resources.”

The library is located in the breezeway adjacent to the newly expanded Café 1900 seating area. With an open concept and no doors, Lakewood residents can come to enjoy a good book any hour of the day or night.