After officials worked on the project for 18 years, the Myersville branch of the Frederick County Public Library system has finally opened.
More than 200 people gathered in the parking lot of the library, at 8 Harp Place, at Saturday morning’s grand opening to hear opening remarks from local dignitaries and to get their first glimpse at the shiny, new library.
While speeches were given, children were already taking advantage of the library’s grounds by playing among the new plants and fresh-cut grass and at a nearby playground.
James Kelly, director of Frederick County Public Libraries, explained that the library system’s vision is of informed, empowered and vibrant communities.
“Our focus is not just on the focus of transaction of information,” he said. “It’s on the connections we make with our customers.”
Connections were already being made at the grand opening with a day packed with live music and activities for all ages.
“This branch is here because of the community of Myersville,” said Marian Currens, Myersville branch manager. “It has everything you can come to expect from all of your Frederick County Public Libraries in terms of meeting space and the materials we have to offer. We’re really just hoping to connect and meet our new community.”
Once the giant red ribbon was cut, people poured in the front door to tour the new space. Others took advantage of all the literature and browsed the bookshelves to check out books.
Myersville resident, Kristen Johnson, had three books in her arm and was scanning the shelves for a fourth. She frequents the library system but always had to travel to Middletown or Thurmont to check out books.
Going forward, the Myersville branch will be much more convenient for her.
“It’ll be so much easier,” she said. “A lot of people in town can just walk here. It’ll be so nice to bring my kids somewhere closer in the community.”
Sheila McDuff, associate director of FCPL, said the new branch incorporates everything one may find at other library locations and is approximately 7,000 square feet — 2,000 of which are taken up by a trolley that was part of the community for many years.
There are two study rooms, a laptop bar, a community gathering room with a smart technology board, and an extensive children’s department.
The trolley, the first thing your eyes hook on when entering, will serve as a museum piece. McDuff said there will be tours for school groups and historical programming related to it.
Myersville becomes the ninth branch of FCPL with two others planned — a demolition and reconstruction of the Middletown branch, slated to begin in fiscal year 2023, and a brand-new branch in the Lake Linganore community. The library system also operates two bookmobiles.
While online book sales are climbing and brick-and-motor stores like Borders have shut down, FCPL seems to be on an uptick.
McDuff attributes this to libraries becoming more than a stop to check-out books.
“What we see is growth of public libraries and the use of public libraries changing from community to community,” McDuff said. “Whereas, people used to always think of libraries as a place to get physical books and to do research, now libraries are community gathering places.”
The challenge however, according to McDuff, is marketing to those who aren’t familiar with the library system and getting out into the community.
“Our challenge is trying to educate the public and making sure everybody knows about what’s available to them for free at their public library because it’s a lot more than it used to be,” McDuff said.
The Myersville community has wanted a library for almost two decades, and FCPL recognized the need.
The bookmobile stop in Myserville has continued to be one of the most popular, McDuff said, and many residents of Myersville often traveled to the Middletown branch or the C. Burr Artz library in downtown Frederick due to its extensive collection.
The discussion of adding a branch in Myersville began in 2001, McDuff said, but was then delayed due to financial constraints. The town, however, held steady and worked to get their own space.
“The town has demonstrated their desire for a library. The site that we’re on is the former town hall site, it’s also a former elementary school site and the town paid for the demolition and donated the land to the county to build the library on,” McDuff said.
And now they have it.
New branch administrator, Marian Currens, said she is excited to begin her new role.
“I’m really looking forward to getting to know...and figuring out how to best serve the community,” Currens said.