Library renovation unveiled

February 24, 1998|By GUY FLETCHER

by Joe Crocetta / staff photographer

see the enlargement

Wash. Free Library

The Washington County Free Library looked to the past Monday, while keeping one eye on its future.

The library unveiled a $20,000 renovation of the Western Maryland Room, which houses a large collection of regional historical books and other research, to kick off its centennial celebration.

"It's just poetic that we start the year with a rededication of this room," said library Director Mary C. Baykan.

Baykan said the year-long celebration of the library's 100th birthday will include speeches from guest authors and other programs.

Next month the library will cut the ribbon on a homework center, complete with computers and textbooks, aimed at middle school students. That will be followed by the opening of a family computing center to help older learners.


The Western Maryland Room, on the library's second floor, houses thousands of books, vertical files and other reference materials dealing with the region's history.

Curator John Frye said the room has been used by scholars, researchers, genealogists and by children working on school projects.

The renovation was the first for the Western Maryland Room.

"This is the first time any portion of the library has had a major renovation since it opened in 1965," Frye said.

Work to completely overhaul the room began late last year, and included new lighting, painting, furnishings, shelving and carpeting. Extra space added to the room will house a Civil War collection.

"It's a beautiful room," Baykan said.

The work was paid for with a $10,000 gift from Jane Ankeney Stansbury, a county resident who died in 1995. Another $5,000 was donated by the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites. An additional $5,000 was donated by members of Friends of the Western Maryland Room.

Library employees did all of the renovation work, except for the electrical work, officials said.

"I cannot commend them enough and thank them enough for the work they have done," said Mary Strauss, president of the library's board of trustees.

The Western Maryland Room will be publicly rededicated on Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m.

On a larger scale, library officials want the South Potomac Street library building to undergo extensive renovations to make it more appealing to patrons.

The Herald-Mail Articles