Closing of library calls for celebration

Staff eager for opening of a new, larger branch

September 12, 2004|By Jamie Stiehm | Jamie Stiehm,SUN STAFF

A community library that has served Odenton for 35 years will close its doors forever Saturday - and its librarians are throwing an open party Tuesday to celebrate.

A cheerful farewell might seem strange, but library manager Terri Tresp said wistful feelings and the closure pale next to the thrill of opening a new library nearby.

Anne Arundel County is nearly ready to open a much larger library about a mile away to replace the Odenton branch, built in 1969. The long-planned library on Annapolis Road, opening in December, cost $13.5 million to build and will have 160,000 books on two stories.

The new library, at 40,000 square feet, is more than four times the size of the current branch. One level is for children, and the other is for adults, a first for a county library.

The new library will have primary colors in the children's section, computers for children and adults, and a meeting room for nonprofit groups. The staff will expand from seven to 25 librarians, Tresp said.

"This is a major step up," Tresp said. "This change will be a good one. The staff just wants to say thanks to all our patrons."

The new library will keep number of branches at 15.

Locating the new library in the western part of the county was a demographic decision, county officials said.

With an explosion of population growth in communities such as Piney Orchard, public facilities had to keep pace with new arrivals. The library's placement in Odenton's town center is intended to make it a beacon for residents.

The new county library is in keeping with a trend toward larger regional library branches that are gradually supplanting small neighborhood branches and include sophisticated digital, children's story and play areas, and other services.

Still, it is not easy for librarians and residents to say goodbye to a familiar presence - which is why a farewell party was in order, Tresp said.

The 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. event Tuesday will include refreshments - a rare chance to eat in a library, Tresp said.

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