County Libraries Receive Grant

BERLIN – More than $49,000 in unanticipated grant funding will allow the Worcester County Library to reallocate funds to several improvement projects and programs.

On Tuesday, the Worcester County Commissioners voted unanimously to reallocate $49,446.37 from the fiscal year 2019 budget after learning the county’s library system had received a grant from the Maryland State Library to reimburse the cost of materials purchased this year.

Approximately $12,000 will be reallocated to new carpeting in the large meeting room and small conference room of the Ocean Pines branch, which is undergoing interior and exterior renovations. An additional $23,000 will be reallocated to new window coverings in the library.

Lastly, $7,000 will be reallocated for additional library programs for adults and children and $7,000 will be used to complete an engineering study and feasibility analysis of the Pocomoke branch.

In this week’s meeting of the Worcester County Library Board of Trustees, Director Jennifer Ranck said the studies will give officials a better understanding of the need for an addition and renovations at the Pocomoke library. She said any future capital improvements would likely address the facility’s aging roof and HVAC system, single-pane windows and layout.

“That branch right now is approximately 6,700 square feet and it’s twice the size of the old Berlin branch,” she said. “It sits on about an acre, so there is land where you can push out behind the library.”

Ranck said the board will meet with architects in Pocomoke next month to go over preliminary designs for an addition.

“They’ve developed preliminary sketches to give us an idea of what possibly could happen to Pocomoke,” she said. “It is all budget dependent.”

Ranck said she applied for design funding in fiscal year 2020 from the state’s Library Capital Projects Grant Program to launch the project.

“This is what sets it off so the county would even consider it,” Board President Ron Cascio added.

Regardless, Ranck said the Pocomoke library needed an addition. She noted the facility was built in the early 1970s and underwent an addition in 2003.

“They probably outgrew that the second day they were open,” she said.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

Alternative Text

Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.