BERLIN– Three hundred and sixty two days a year, the second floor meeting room at the Ocean City library is just that. A meeting room filled with tables and chairs.
For three days in October, however, it’s transformed into a dark maze of dim lights and spooky sounds.
“I thought it was very scary,” eight-year-old Xander Wakefield said. “More than the haunted house.”
Wakefield was one of more than 200 children who visited the haunted maze at the Ocean City branch of the Worcester County Library Oct. 27-29.
“For a library program that’s incredible,” said Brittany Herz Glenn, branch manager at the Ocean City library.
This is the second year staff has gone all out to help patrons celebrate Halloween. From the moment they walked through the door and were greeted by a friendly bear at the front desk, children were thrilled to see the building and its staff transformed for the holiday. The highlight, however, was the second-floor maze. In near complete darkness kids were invited to find their way past skeletons and through corridors of costumed figures as the creaks and groans associated with haunted spaces echoed through the building.
While several younger children exited the maze holding tightly onto a parent, others spoke excitedly about the creepiest parts of the experience.
“It was fun,” said Jake Moser, 11.
Herz Glenn says patrons can expect the haunted maze to become an annual event now that it’s been so well received two years in a row. She said the concept was brought to her shortly after she took over as branch manager by employee Taryn Shultz in 2015.
“I was excited,” Herz Glenn said. “I love Halloween and this was my first big program [as manager].”
Last year she and the library’s staff just offered the maze one day, but because it proved so popular they decided they’d leave it up for three days this year. It again proved to be a draw, bringing both familiar and new faces to the library.
“People have been trickling in just to do the maze,” Herz Glenn said.
She said it was one of the library programs designed to entice people who didn’t normally frequent the library to come check it out.
“It’s easy to target people who come in all the time with brochures and pamphlets,” Herz Glenn said, adding that offering something a bit different like the maze would generate interest outside the library community. “I saw some familiar faces but quite a few people I didn’t recognize. It was nice.”
She said the success of this year’s program wouldn’t have been possible without the support of library staff and Friends of the Ocean City Library.