County officials break ground on the new Annapolis Regional Library on Thursday afternoon but, don’t fret — two locations have been found to help serve the old library’s patrons until the new facility opens on West Street.
The library will keep its materials circulating in the old circulation wing of the former Capital newspaper building off West Street starting Monday and a satellite location at Westfield Annapolis mall will open at the end of the month.
The old library shut down March 31 in anticipation of the groundbreaking being held Thursday for the new $24 million, 32,500-square-foot facility due to open in late 2019 or early 2020. Since then library staff has been busy moving materials and getting set up at the former Capital site now the home of Monarch Academy off Gibraltar Avenue.
On Wednesday books, videos, CDs and more were on the shelves as workmen finished up running telephone and electric lines.
“We have about 8,000 items here,” said branch manager Gloria Harberts. That includes about 1,280 fiction titles, 900 non-fiction, 480 DVDs, plus music and books on CD.
And there are about 1,500 children’s items in the space created.
The grand opening for the Annapolis branch at Monarch Academy is Monday at 11 a.m.The space will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Over at the mall a space of nearly identical size will open at the end of April.
“There will be a smaller collection of books, new and classic books, and a large children’s area, plus a laptop checkout for customers to use on site,” said library spokesman Christine Feldmann.
There will also be traditional story time and other programs at the mall site, located next to Crate and Barrel. The mall unit will be open will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
“The early literacy program will be maintained, Babies in Bloom, Toddler Time, Family Story Time,” Harberts said.
The remainder of programming at the two facilities is in flux.
“We will have to wait. It depends on who comes in here,” Harberts said during a visit to the Monarch site. “ We are fluid, still exploring, ready to work with those who come in. Waiting to see what customers want to do.”
The new library is being built on the site of the existing library on West Street in Annapolis. The old building, built in 1965, will be demolished as soon as asbestos abatement is completed.
The new building’s design reflects the changing mission of libraries from the old dusty stacks arranged by the Dewey Decimal system to nods to the computer and social media age plus a cafe, a community living room, a tech zone and a spot for teens to hang out – quietly – away from the children’s section.
The LEED certified building will have geothermal heat, and possibly solar electric panels in the future.
Large community meeting spaces, and small ones too, occupy a chunk of the layout.
The largest is a meeting room of just over 3,000 square feet that can be divided into two meeting rooms. A medium-sized meeting room also is in the plans.
Several smaller “collaborative” meeting rooms are also included, the largest of which will become the Maryland Room, housing Maryland Gold Collection, a group of books and materials, some rare or one of a kind, pertaining to Maryland history.
Area historian were worried about the future of the Gold Collection but room was found for it. While the library is under construction the collection will be housed at Anne Arundel Community College’s Truxal library.