OCEAN CITY – The Ocean City branch of the Worcester County Library has called 14th Street home for many years, but it won’t be long before the library will be making the move to its new and improved building on 100th Street.
According to assistant branch manager Joe Colantuoni, the new uptown library is moving along as planned, and if all continues to go smoothly, will be operating by the third week of January.
“They’re doing such a great job of being on schedule,” Colantuoni said.
For months, Ocean City residents and visitors have been able to see the progress of the new library unfold before their eyes, whether by driving by the new location, or by checking the monthly progress on the Ocean City Public Library website.
Colantuoni explained that as the physical construction reaches completion, there is still work to be done before the library is available to the public.
“A whole logistical domino effect begins,” he said, explaining that with the completion of the construction comes the next phase, setting up the interior, which involves installing shelving, furniture, books, and so on.
With the finishing date uncertain, no official plans have been laid out yet for a grand opening, but Colantuoni assured there would be one.
“What it will entail and exactly what date it will be, we don’t know yet,” he said.
Although the library is months from being available for public use, people are already gearing up and preparing to use the new facility. Colantuoni explained that organizations have already been calling to schedule times to use the meeting room that will be available in the new library.
“We already have things scheduled through July,” he said.
From the beginning, the library has made sure to make public opinion a top priority in the development of the new library. For months, the 14th Street location has made plans and displays of the new library available, as well as different options that people can weigh in their opinions on.
“We really want to be what they wants us to be,” Colantuoni said.
The library personnel have also been keeping their ears open, making themselves available to suggestions on what books to order.
“We’ve also been trying to look at the trends,” Colantuoni said, explaining that they pay attention to the books people order through the library and make note of what they are lacking. With the opportunity to order more books and create a new atmosphere, Colantuoni feels this is the time to really hone in on peoples needs and requests. “This is the time, let us know,” he said.
Despite the growing excitement of the new library, there are, of course, several residents who will be sad to see the downtown location close. Colantuoni added that as the new library becomes a reality he is hearing less disappointment from the downtown residents and more excitement from people.
As for the 14th Street location, Colantuoni explained that it is in the city’s hands.
“As soon as we vacate the building, it will go back to the city,” he said.
Downtown residents will not be completely rebuffed, however. Colantuoni explained that they are considering a southern book drop, but that no location had been confirmed.
Three computer areas will be available in the new two-and a half story building, totaling 31 public access computers. Pagers will also be used to alert people when it is their turn on the computers, allowing people the option to browse the library while waiting their turn.
The meeting room will be fully equipped with a new audio and projection system. Colantuoni explained that they are currently pursuing digitizing a vertical file, which in layman’s terms means making clippings from old newspapers available electronically in the Ocean City Maryland History room, which is to be located on the second floor.