Mount Airy's new library may have been created to carry its patrons into the 21st century, but good old-fashioned community spirit will power the move into the ultra-modern facility.
Branch Librarian Greg Becker said an overwhelming number of people have volunteered their "time, vehicles, muscles, and aches and pains" on Saturday, when materials at the Main Street location will be moved to the new library at 705 Ridge Avenue.
"I think we have close to 300 [volunteers]," Mr. Becker said.
Library patrons began asking more than four months ago if they could help with the move, he said. The library has nearly seven pages filled with names of volunteers, and people came in this week just to offer their help even though the library was officially closed.
Volunteers include individuals, couples, families and a Brownie troop. "It is amazing," said Mr. Becker.
Two hours of intense effort will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, when volunteers gather either at the old branch on Main Street or the new Ridge Avenue library to work. Bundles of books will be passed bucket brigade style at the old branch to vehicles waiting at five parking spaces on Main Street.
The move will merge the current branch's collection with books for new library that have been in storage upstairs at the Main Street Branch.
They represent a total of 45,000 items, Mr. Becker estimated.
Everything has to come out one door, he said. "It's going to be a sort of a traffic jam.
"To me it's like an old-fashioned barn raising -- everyone pitches in and gets the job done, and everyone benefits."
The books will be carried, bundle by bundle, into the new facility and routed to shelves according to coded stickers. Then the volunteers will break for pizza and soda.
"After that we go onto unbundling and merging the collection," Mr. Becker said.
Beginning Dec. 28, the library's new staffers became acquainted as they gathered at the Main Street branch to wrap parcels of books in blue plastic wrapping in preparation for the move.
Endurance was the challenge of the week as workers wrapped and wrapped, said Linda Shane, an adult services library assistant. The supply of blue wrap ran low on Tuesday, and workers had to switch to binding twine to secure the bundles.
"It's hard work," said Mrs. Shane, who has been employed at the Mount Airy Branch for the past nine years.
Many of library's 16 staff members are transferring from other branches of the Carroll County Public Library.
"It's a wonderful opportunity to open up a library and set up the children's services," said Maria Toomey, the children's services supervisor who is transferring from the North Carroll Branch.
"I got to open North Carroll," she said. "It was really exciting."
"This is going to be a neat staff," said Dottie Haschert, an adult services library assistant who transferred to Mount Airy from Eldersburg.
Some volunteers, like Arthur Brett, worked with library employees during the week to prepare for the move. Asked why he volunteered to help, Mr. Brett responded, "Why not? Somebody's got to help. I figured I knew a little bit more [because] I had worked at a library."
Mr. Brett said that he worked as a page at the Eldersburg library after his retirement, and added that he was looking forward to the expanded collection that will be available at the new Mount Airy library.
"This will be a tremendous asset for the community," said Mr. Brett.
As workers bundled books on Tuesday, Mount Airy town employees B. J. Dixon and Teresa Merten took the opportunity to measure the dimensions of the Main Street branch in preparation for the relocation of the town's offices to that building.
Tuesday was also a day of reflection as long-time Mount Airy Branch employee Yvonne Gosnell packed for the 1993 move and remembered the library's 1976 move from its cramped quarters at the top of the current town office building to Main Street.
Volunteers also were instrumental in moving the library's collection of 10,000 books in 1976, according to the library's scrapbook. Mrs. Gosnell said the Main Street location was spacious compared to its previous location.
"It was roomy," she said.
Mount Airy's new branch library encompasses 16,431 square feet, compared to the old branch's 2,200-square-foot area, according to Ann Wisner, a spokeswoman for the Carroll County Public Library system. The new branch has the capacity to house 71,800 volumes and has 118 parking spaces.
"The hours will increase to 60 hours" per week, she said.
Scott Reinhart, assistant director of the library system, said Mount Airy's new library will quadruple the number of catalog stations and double the number of check-out points, from two to four.
Mr. Reinhart said the new branch has an "innovative design" with a lot of "growth potential."
The ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Mount Airy Library and Senior Center will be held at 3 p.m. on Jan. 8, and the library will remain open on Jan. 8 until 6 p.m.
Library hours beginning Jan. 9, 1993 will be 9:30 a.m. to 8:45 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.