Pocahontas County Free Libraries signed a lease agreement with Snowshoe Mountain Resort in 2009 allowing them to use the former Welcome Center as the Linwood Library, and since then, the facility has been growing and changing with the times.
Now, in 2023, the facility is home to the library, a day care center, a market and so much more.
Linwood Alive! – a non profit focused on serving the needs of the community – has expanded the area to include a community pavilion, a pump track and mountain biking trails. The organization’s coordinator at the facility, Tracey Valach, has worked with Snowshoe to revamp the space and make it even more community friendly.
“They said they want to see more things happen on the inside and rejuvenate that space,” she said, of Snowshoe. “They hired me to spearhead that.”
Prior to this project, the facility operation and usage was governed by the library, which limited how the space could be used. Now, with Linwood Alive! operating the facility, each entity inside – the library, the day care and for-profits that rent space – share the costs of keeping the facility open and allows for more commerce.
“Libraries have certain rules and regulations for what can take place within a library building,” Valach explained. “A big one was commerce. Within a library you can’t do any commerce. For a long time, the community’s wanted a winter market and there was no way for us to do it because all of our community interior space was managed by library regulations.”
Valach said the community was understanding of the limitations. Now, with the building under new rules, there are more options.
With the changes came some rearranging in the building. The library was relocated to the main part of the building, to the left of the entrance – giving it a larger space and easier access to the community and day care.
“We didn’t lose any stacks,” Valach said of the library. “In fact, we gained usable shelf space because of the way the layout worked out. There’s the one main space and they have a hall area for their book sale, and then the juvenile area is in another room in the back. It’s really neat how we didn’t lose anything.”
Moving the library freed up a community room and office space. The room is now a conference space where activities such as yoga and winter farmers markets are held, as well as a space for meetings. There are also three offices, which are currently rented by the Snowshoe Resort Community District.
“These doors lock so that nobody has access to the store, the library and the computers after hours,” Valach said. “They come in the side entrance like most of the other libraries have.”
The store is the Linwood Market, which offers fresh produce and locally source food items, including meats, cheeses, honey and maple syrup.
The market is located to the right of the main entrance and is open when the facility is open to the public.
“Our target audience is the locals and then, if guests want to come and shop, great,” Valach said. “What we’re seeing is locals and homeowners have been so excited to have fresh produce and then you add the Dollar General for staples – it’s really the best of both worlds here at the bottom.”
The store is self serve where customers scan a QR code with their smart phone and the code will open the store on their web browser. They then select the items they wish to purchase and pay with credit card. For those without a smart phone, they can access the site on one of the community computers at the library.
Rounding out the main room of the facility is a community workspace area with desks, computers and a lounge for people who work remotely or need a workspace while they are on vacation. There is also a community break room next to the kitchen in the conference room, where visitors can use the fridge and microwave while they work.
Valach said Linwood Alive! is also in the process of having the kitchen turned into a commercial kitchen which can be used by the community to create items they wish to sell or simply for canning or freezing items for their pantries.
On top of all the things that can be done while the facility is open to the public, there is also a 24/7 foyer at the main entrance for those who need to use the WiFi of grab some information about the area.
“The airlock serves multiple purposes,” Valach said. “There’s visitor information. The WiFi is fabulous so we have a table and chair set up and the outlets are right there to charge your devices. So whether or not the library is open or the building is open, you can come into that space.
“There’s also a little free pantry,” she added. “It’s take some, leave some, food pantry style.”
Valach said she is excited to see how a few changes have revitalized the center and given the community a renewed energy and interest in everything it has to offer.
“The whole mission of Linwood Alive! is to identify community needs and partner with other organizations to meet those needs for the community,” she said. “You see that in the day care. You see that in the farmers market, in the playground, in the bike trails.
“The community has been given another burst,” she continued. “What I love about it – and I’m seeing it across the board in everything over the last few years – is Snowshoe’s commitment to the local community. It’s so nice to see them and their involvement with this project, to see the love they’re giving the community.”
The Linwood Center is open Monday, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.