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Readers in north Berkeley Co. get a summer break

July 06, 2005|by CANDICE BOSLEY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARLOWE, W.Va. - Readers in the northern end of Berkeley County who want to read a John Steinbeck classic, the latest John Grisham thriller or Bob Woodward's expos on his secret Deep Throat source - which comes out today - no longer need to drive to Martinsburg, W.Va.

A temporary library branch has opened in a portable classroom at Marlowe Elementary School and will be open for another month.

A grand reopening celebration was held Tuesday, complete with story readings by Berkeley County Dels. John Overington and Craig Blair, refreshments and a Native American history lesson.

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Although the library contains 500 to 750 books for children and adults, any book in the library's collection can be delivered, said library Director Pamela Coyle.

"We rely on patrons to tell us what they want out there," Coyle said from her office at the library system's main branch in Martinsburg.

The Marlowe library has a computer with Internet access available to the public and is handicapped-accessible.

The temporary library will close on Aug. 5, when it will be converted back into a classroom.

The building replaces the library's former branch in Falling Waters, W.Va., which consisted of a trailer that was erected in 1973 and was supposed to be temporary. Safety concerns and little usage prompted the closure of that branch last summer.

Members of the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Public Library's board of directors still are deciding how to best serve all of the county's residents, including those in the Back Creek Valley and Gerrardstown, W.Va., areas, who live miles away from an existing library.

A bookmobile program might be started, Coyle said, and a larger library is planned in Hedgesville, W.Va.

A permanent library someday will be built for residents in the northern end of the county, she said.

"We're trying to get the best possible library out there, but it's going to take time," Coyle said.

And money.

A basic 2,800-square-foot library will cost an estimated $530,000 to build and furnish. That price does not include buying land, Coyle said.

Library officials and supporters are looking into finding an appropriate piece of land on which to build, she said.

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