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Boonsboro's new library already well used

New facility is six times the size of the previous location

New facility is six times the size of the previous location

April 15, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

BOONSBORO -- The Washington County Free Library's oldest library branch has the newest building.

Boonsboro town leaders and national, state and local elected officials on Monday dedicated the new 9,983-square-foot Boonsboro Free Library in front of a crowd of about 150 people.

The building cost about $2 million and is on about 1.3 acres that was donated by the town of Boonsboro. Officials said planning for the new library at 401 Potomac St. began about seven years ago. It opened to the public about two weeks ago and replaces the library on Main Street.

U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., spoke during Monday's dedication and said that public libraries are the "gateway to opportunity."

Mikulski is credited with securing $196,000 in federal funds for the project, according a press release from her office. The community raised nearly $1 million for the building through fundraising.

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Several Washington County Commissioners, including Commissioners President John F. Barr, attended the ceremony. Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, and Del. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington, also attended.

"What we have here is a great reading facility," Boonsboro Mayor Charles F. "Skip" Kauffman Jr. said. "The Boonsboro community is a very giving and caring group of first-class citizens."

He said residents proved that through their support of the library. Several areas in the library are named for large donors.

"You put your money where your mouth was," Kauffman said.

The new library includes free Wi-Fi access, 10 public Internet terminals, a children's room with a puppet theater, programs for teens, and morning programs and free coffee for seniors. Another new feature is a restroom.

Washington County Free Library Director Mary C. Baykan said patrons at the previous library had to use the restroom at Town Hall next door.

"This is a strong community asset," she said. "It was such a labor of love and dedication."

Boonsboro Free Library Branch Manager Chris Hawkins said community members already are taking advantage of the new library. Librarians typically issue 16 or 17 new library cards each month, she said.

In the two weeks since the new library has been open to the public, 148 library cards have been issued.

"It has been packed," said Janeen Solberg, president of the Boonsboro Library Board. "It's been very well used."

On Monday, patrons were checking out books and DVDs from the library's 18,000-item collection. Solberg said the new facility is six times the size of the previous location.

Her daughter, Ana Solberg, 10, already has used the new library. She said she likes to read and already has checked out "lots of things."

Ana said she likes the new library because it is bigger, and said she was especially glad to see all of the children's books in the same room.

Katie Hershey of Keedysville brought three of her six children to the library Monday. She said it was the first time she brought her children there, but they typically had gone to the library four times each week.

"I'm lucky to have a house full of readers," she said.

On Monday, John, 13; Cate, 11; and Hallie, 6, were busy looking through books in the children's room. The three children are homeschooled, and Hershey said they likely will use several of the 10 computer terminals for schoolwork.

Hershey said her family often is in Boonsboro and was eagerly awaiting the opening of the new library, though they do also use the library in Keedysville.

As Boonsboro continues to grow, some officials already are talking about the expansion of the new library.

"The whole point of a library like this is to have room to grow," Solberg said.

Boonsboro Councilman Richard E. Hawkins Sr. said there is room to add another 3,000 square feet to the facility if it is needed. He said that expansion could be possible in about 10 years if it is needed.

Boonsboro Free Library hours



Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Sunday, closed

More photos



Click here to see more photos of Monday's dedication ceremony.

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