Mount Airy Library celebrates one year at larger site

NEIGHBORS

January 07, 1994|By KATHY SUTPHIN

Tomorrow, patrons of the Mount Airy Branch Library will mark the one-year anniversary of a new location with plentiful parking, more books, state-of-the-art computers, increased staffing and extended hours.

With the cramped quarters and limited resources of the former location a distant memory, the Mount Airy community has been making good use of its new library.

Circulation has nearly doubled at Mount Airy during the past year -- from 175,727 to 347,772 books, tapes, videos and other items -- said branch librarian Greg Becker. "We do expect it to grow another 100 percent over the next year, too," he said.

"It's much better, much improved, and holdings are increasing," said Mount Airy resident and library patron Jim Hardin.

Mr. Hardin said he and his wife visit the library once or twice a week and use all library materials -- "magazines and newspapers most of all."

Noting a "big difference" from the former location, Mr. Hardin said the new site is larger and offers "a nicer layout.

"It's a little easier to get here," he added.

"I like the computer system that was installed," said Maryann Hayes of Woodbine. "It makes it easier to find the books." Mrs. Hayes, who visits the library once a week, said she also likes the separate children's section.

"I really like the books that support Christian values, from children's on through adults," she said.

Books . . . about dinosaurs are the library's favorite attraction to Nathan Johnson, 5, who attends kindergarten at nearby Twin Ridge Elementary School.

The spacious facility, with its children's section and private meeting room, has given area youngsters -- from infants to teen-agers -- many reasons to visit.

Several sessions of preschool story times, two or three monthly events for school-age children, and a reading program for infants and their care givers encourage children and their parents to become library regulars.

"We've doubled and tripled what we're offering," said Children's Services Supervisor Maria Toomey. "We have waiting lists on almost everything."

Secondary school students from Carroll and Frederick counties who want to earn volunteer service hours for graduation are "a big help" at the new library, Mrs. Toomey said. "We have a good team of student volunteers who help with our children's programs and crafts for the programs."

Observance of the first anniversary will begin with "Happy Birthday" children story times at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Mrs. Toomey, who will lead the events, said the story times are open to children age 3 and older. Volunteers are busy creating "Happy Birthday" bulletin boards for tomorrow's event and a banner featuring colorful hand prints of each staff member and their signatures will greet patrons in the library's foyer.

"We also put a display on the history of the library in the young people's section," Mr. Becker said.

An anniversary blue spruce, donated by Ridgely Produce of Mount Airy, decorated the staff's lounge for the holidays and recently was planted in the front yard of the library and senior center.

One sad note about the birthday observance is that Elizabeth "Betty" Normandy, a former librarian at the Mount Airy Branch who nurtured a love of reading in the community for more than 25 years, died last May.

Mrs. Normandy became Mount Airy's librarian in 1967, when the library occupied one room on the top floor of the former Town Hall. She retired just before the library's move to the 110 South Main St. building and checked out the first book at that facility in 1976. She also checked out the first book at the 705 Ridge Ave. building last January.

Approximately $350 in memorial contributions were donated to the Friends of the Mount Airy Library after her death, according to member Gene Gartrell.

Mrs. Gartrell said the library is planning an event to honor Mrs. Normandy and that a book will be donated in her memory.

*

As the last of the holiday decorations are being stored for the 1994 Christmas season, it is a good time to recognize a very important project joyfully performed each December by the Mount Airy Area Jaycees.

This 30-member group sponsored a gala Christmas celebration for 30 needy children from the Mount Airy area Dec. 18. The event, which may have been the only holiday party for some of its young guests, featured games, music and pizzas donated by Pizza Hut, Domino's and Safari's of Mount Airy.

The Jaycees, with information garnered from parents and guardians, made sure that Santa had a gift carefully selected for each child.

"Santa had stockings filled with goodies for them, too," said project chairwoman Ruth Muller.

The Needy Children's Christmas Party is one of the club's most expensive and most rewarding projects.

The club performs a variety of community service projects and sponsors activities for its members and their families throughout the year. New members are always welcome.

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