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Letters to the Editor - Dec. 5

December 05, 2012

Support for county library project still needed

To the editor:
Our hardworking library professionals answer hundreds of citizen questions every day. If you asked any one of them what is the most frequently asked question they hear, at least lately, their answer and mine would be, “When is the new library going to open?” It seems that everyone, including we who work here, can’t wait for the day that they will be able to walk back into 100 S. Potomac St. When we do we will find a library that will have expanded on its tradition of excellent service with innovative approaches to information processing, retrieval and research in addition to being a place that brings our entire community together in conversation, reading and personal growth.
A Nov. 29 article in The Herald-Mail noted that the project “is scheduled to be finished around the first week of May.” This needs further clarification. Once the building is complete and turned over to the county for occupancy, the library will begin the task of turning a building into a library. Most people are not aware that Washington County owns the building and the land. However, it is what must happen on the inside of this building that will make it a library.
It is the Washington County Free Library, a separate nonprofit organization chartered since 1898, which is actually charged with the task of providing for everything that must be purchased and assembled that will make a beautiful building successfully function as a library. Assembling new shelving, installing more than 60 public-access computers, the automation system, Internet and Wi-Fi, and miscellaneous equipment plus bringing back and shelving the collection will take a bit of time and a great deal of effort once we are given the go-ahead.
When Joseph Kroboth III, the county’s public works director, speaks about the coming in “under budget,” he is referring to that portion of the project that relates to the building of the facility, not providing a library. There also needs to be clarification as to the total cost of the project and its budget. The library is responsible for providing the funding for shelving, furniture and equipment. The majority of which is not included in the construction cost of the building. In addition to these costs, the library has pledged up to $4 million for construction of the building itself. 
To fulfill this commitment and to cover the cost of outfitting the library, the Board of Trustees pledged $1 million from its endowment, authorized the Building Our Great Good Place capital campaign and established a goal of raising $3 million. As of today, we have approximately $2.25 million pledged toward our goal and we are still actively seeking the much needed $750,000 from the community to fulfill the library’s commitment.
We still need the community’s help in achieving our goal to raise the remaining funds that will fully equip the new central library to meet the needs of our community when we do reopen. Please visit www.Buildingwcfl.org or call 301-739-3250, ext 128, to learn more. If you haven’t contributed to this worthwhile effort, please consider doing so. No matter how modest, you will be making a lasting contribution to the educational future of our county.

Mary C. Baykan
Director
Washington County Free Library

Children’s Village appreciative of memorial ride gift

To the editor:
On behalf of Children’s Village of Washington County and the students it serves, I thank the Blue Knights MD II and Thomas Pangborn Lodge 88 of the Fraternal Order of Police for supporting our life-safety education program with a gift of $2,000 from the Fallen Officers Memorial Law Ride held in October.
The ride, formerly known as the Officer Christopher Nicholson Memorial Law Ride, was renamed this year to recognize all fallen police officers killed in the line of duty in Washington County. 
Children’s Village received this gift to support its child safety program that addresses the No. 1 cause of death for children younger than 14: unintentional injury. Each year, every second-grade student in the county, from public, private or home schools, attends Children’s Village, free of charge, to learn safe living skills. Nearly 50,000 children have come to the 5-acre safety campus since it opened in 1990. The program, and its many success stories, is a benchmark for other child-safety initiatives.
Children’s Village instructors include professional police officers and firefighters, dedicated to its child-safety mission. The memorial ride recognized the ultimate sacrifice of fallen police officers, sworn to serve and protect, while its subsequent gift keeps that oath alive promoting safety for children in Washington County. 
During this season of giving, there is no greater gift we can give our children than the gift of safety. Children’s Village thanks the Blue Knights of MD II and Thomas Pangborn Lodge 88 of the FOP for helping to make that possible.

Rochelle Morrell
Executive Director
Children’s Village of Washington County

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