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Boonsboro makes appeal for new library

March 27, 2001

Boonsboro makes appeal for new library



By TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

Parents, library board and community members pushed for a new library in Boonsboro Tuesday night, citing a need to accommodate growth.

The group spoke at a Washington County Commissioners meeting at Boonsboro High School.

The Washington County Free Library is spearheading a move to build two new libraries, one in Boonsboro and the other in Smithsburg.

"We're the second largest municipality in the county. What hasn't grown? The library itself," Boonsboro Councilman Kevin Chambers said of the space at the Boonsboro Free Library at 19 N. Main St.

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Chambers, who is a member of the library planning board, said the Boonsboro library, established as a corporation in 1906, is the oldest branch in the county.

The library is the oldest branch outside of Hagerstown, said Boonsboro Mayor Charles "Skip" Kauffman.

Chambers said the number of books at the branch has grown by 74 percent since 1993, increasing from 26,317 to 45,982. It's open 28 hours a week, up from 18 hours a week in 1998, and has 954 patrons.

"That's the highest of all branches in Washington County," he said.

"I know these numbers will continue to grow," said Jeffrey Himes, a library board member. "The need is here."

Chambers said 10 years ago a library consultant recommended that the library expand to at least 6,000-square-feet from the current 1,450-square-feet, he said.

In December, a consultant hired by the Washington County Free Library recommended that a 13,787-square-foot library be built at an estimated cost of $3.5 million. The estimate does not include land acquisition.

Boonsboro Town Council is considering options for a new library site and the county is looking to the town to help raise money.

"We're really excited about the momentum that is going forward here," said Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook.

Mary Baykan, director of the Washington County Free Library, said the library board would contribute $50,000 in a matching grant toward the new library to kick off fund-raising efforts.

Ethelyn Purcell, president of the board of trustees for the Boonsboro Free Library, stressed the educational value of a library.

"We will have support of the entire town as well as the town council," Purcell said. "I'm sure we are going to have a new library."

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