Finksburg planning council hears library proposal

5,000-square-foot branch to include space to expand

August 29, 1999|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Finksburg will get a library, one that is not as big as the county's five other branches, but a building with room to grow.

In a meeting with the Finksburg Planning Area Council on Thursday, Linda Mielke, director of the Carroll County Public Library, discussed plans for a 5,000-square-foot Finksburg library.

The project has received preliminary approval from the county commissioners, who plan to build it in about three years.

Praise for interest

Mielke credited citizen activism for moving the project forward.

"The project has the library board's attention, and there is no reason it won't happen," said Mielke.

"The board of library trustees and the commissioners are gratified by the enthusiasm here for a public library."

The county Planning and Zoning Commission will review the proposal this fall, she said, and she encouraged residents to attend the session.

The library board is considering several sites for the building, which would require about 1.5 acres.

Accessibility, visibility, traffic flow, parking and safety will affect the decision.

Possible sites

Although she declined to discuss specifics, Mielke said sites near Finksburg Plaza and Sandymount Elementary are possibilities.

"All libraries are built with expansion in mind," she said. "Each one of our community libraries has grown up to a full-service library."

Branches are typically about 15,000 square feet.

Eldersburg, the largest branch, is adding 5,000 square feet to its 20,000.

Mielke has drawings of a prefabricated building that would offer a range of books and materials and a meeting room.

"I would love to tell you that this is a beautiful building," she said.

"It is not beautiful, but it is not horrible either."

Neil Ridgely, council member, said, "I hope we are not getting a second-class facility, because we are paying first-class tax dollars."

Mielke asked the council to be realistic.

The proposed building could be constructed in as few as 90 days for $1.7 million, including furniture, shelving and books.

"If you ask the commissioners for $5 million, that is not going to happen," she said.

The board's proposal calls for a branch with fewer services and hours, but that will have children's programs.

County libraries typically operate 60 hours a week.

The Finksburg branch would be open 30 hours, including several evenings and Saturdays. With a staff of three, its annual costs are expected to be about $125,000.

"This library won't be the size of North Carroll or Mount Airy, but the site will be big enough to expand," she said.

Pub Date: 8/29/99

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