OCEAN CITY –The 14th Ocean City Library closed its doors this week, and although an official date has not been set for the opening of the new 100th Street location, the transition to the new library has begun as the books left the 14th Street location this week.
“Forty years are coming to an end today,” said branch manager Andrea Schlottman on Wednesday. “We are closing our full services as of 6 p.m.”
The full service use of the library officially ended at the downtown location on Wednesday, marking the beginning of the move to the new library.
“We are not announcing an opening date at this point out of fear that something goes wrong and everyone will be disappointed,” said Schlottman, who anticipates an opening date between March 17 and 20.
The new library at 100th Street was originally slated to be open in January, but unexpected delays and inevitable setbacks pushed back that target date.
Schlottman reported that all of the books moved to their new location this week, as library officials and workers tie up loose ends on the new building.
The 14th Street branch will be closed for full service, but will remain open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day through at least next week for minimal services.
“We will have very minimal service from 10 to 1,” Schlottman said. “The doors will actually be locked, but from 10 to 1 people who have called about a book they ordered coming in or who have a question can knock on the door and someone will be available to help them.”
The book drop collection box will be available at all times. In the interim, library customers are being encouraged to use the branch libraries in Ocean Pines and Berlin.
The closing of the 14th Street branch, which has been serving Ocean City, particularly the downtown segment, for over 40 years, may be bittersweet for some, but the excitement of the new facility, the expanded space, and the improved technology are dissuading any feelings of sadness.
“I’ve worked here for 24 years and it is bittersweet but I’m sure once I get up there to that shiny new building the bittersweet part will fade away,” said Schlottman.
The 5,000-square-foot 14th Street location often grew cramped in the summer, as hospitality workers converted the space into a quasi-computer lab. Waiting lines for computers were a frequent occurrence at the 14th Street branch, a problem that library staff hopes to avoid in the new tech-savvy building. The new library features three computer areas with over 30 public access computers.