Minor Issues Cause Library Occupancy Permit Delay

OCEAN CITY – The anticipated opening date for Ocean City’s new 13,000-square-foot, state of the art public library on 100th Street was moved back this week when inspectors failed to issue a certificate of occupancy for the facility as expected on Monday.

Inspectors were expected to officially turn the new facility over to the county, and thus Ocean City Library officials on Monday with the issuance of the certificate of occupancy (CO), but some last minute issues had to be resolved before the CO could be issued.

Worcester County Library Director Mark Thomas told members of the resort’s Economic Development Committee (EDC) on Wednesday the next available time slot for the issuance of the CO had been moved up to this Monday, which, in turn, will set the opening of the facility to the public back a few weeks.

“We are as anxious as you are,” he said. “We had hoped to get the CO on Monday, but we have some minor issues to resolve. There is nothing unsolvable to work out before we get the CO.”

Once the CO is obtained, library officials will spring into action to get the facility ready to open to the public. That will include stocking the shelves with books and materials, hooking up computers and training the staff.

“It will take some time between when we get the certificate and when we’re ready to unveil this wonderful library to the public,” said Thomas. “We expect to be ready sometime early in March. We’ll probably have a soft opening, kind of a shakedown cruise, before we’re ready for the masses.”

Thomas said the new library with its open spaces and green building design features will sell itself to the public, but he told EDC members the most important aspect of the new facility could be its improved level of service for patrons.

“We’re confident this building will sell itself,” he said. “The building itself gets people in the door, but the service will keep them coming back.”

When asked if the new library would be equipped with more public access computers than the old library on 14th Street, Thomas said there will be three times as many, or roughly 35, computers available to the public in the new facility. Incidentally, the old library is expected to be used as a quasi-computer lab for resort workers this summer.

In another issue related to the new library, Ocean City Chamber of Commerce Director Melanie Purcell told EDC members on Wednesday the chamber’s main office in West Ocean City will be used as a drop-off site for materials checked out of the new library once it is opened this spring.