Director says Keedysville, Sharpsburg libraries to stay open

January 31, 2002

Director says Keedysville, Sharpsburg libraries to stay open


Plans for new libraries in Smithsburg and Boonsboro do not mean libraries in other towns will be closed, Washington County Free Library Director Mary Baykan said Wednesday.

Keedysville and Sharpsburg officials said at a Jan. 22 meeting that they wanted assurance their libraries won't be closed or their budgets affected by a planned $1.5 million to $1.6 million library in Boonsboro.

"We have said all along that we have no intention of closing either library," Baykan said.

As long as communities use libraries, they will remain open, she said.

Both towns will have "extra resources" nearby when the Boonsboro library is built, but one library will not replace another, she said.

Money for new libraries would not come from the operating budget, and there would be no effect on other towns' libraries, she said.


Told of her remarks, Sharpsburg Vice Mayor Hal Spielman said, "If that is what she is saying I guess that is the way it is going to be."

Keedysville Mayor Lee Brandenburg said he remained skeptical and concerned.

"We do not want our libraries to be disappearing," he said.

Public Works Director Gary Rohrer has estimated total cost for the two library buildings at $2.7 million: About $1.2 million for Smithsburg's and about $1.5 million to $1.6 million for Boonsboro's.

The estimates do not include land acquisition costs, Rohrer said. The two towns have said they would pay for land acquisition, Baykan said.

Members of the Washington County Commissioners have said they will try to help pay for branch libraries in Smithsburg and Boonsboro, as they did in Clear Spring, if town residents chip in.

But county officials said they can't fund both projects at the same time and asked Baykan and the library's board of directors to decide which project should be funded first.

Baykan said Smithsburg will probably be built first because the push for that new library began earlier. In addition, that library is worse as far as size limitations and physical condition.

Plans call for a 10,000-square-foot library in Smithsburg to replace the existing 1,086-square-foot building, Baykan said.

Plans also call for a 13,787-square-foot library building in Boonsboro to replace the existing 1,713-square-foot facility, Baykan said.

The county library board has pledged $50,000 to each library branch.

The commissioners chipped in $200,000 for the 8,000-square-foot Clear Spring Library, which opened Sept. 15, 2001. That library cost about $800,000, with most of the money coming from private donations and a private endowment.

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