Push for new library moves forward in Berryville
By Haley Schichtl
The Berryville Library was established in 1938, and originally was house in a small room in the courthouse, before moving to its current location on Spring St. in 1978. Although the usage of the Berryville Public Library has gone up in recent years, the building hasn’t been expanded since 1990.
The Friends of the Berryville Library was re-established in May 2017 and have been pushing for a bigger library since late 2018 for many reasons.
The ongoing effort to build a new library in Berryvile, and the progress that has been made toward that goal are the No. 4 local news story of 2019 in Carroll County.
More space would give people using the library’s computers more privacy, allow the library fully handicapped-accessible and offer more room for the library’s collection and activities.
In May, the Friends of the Berryville Library announced that the future library’s location will be on a lot across from the city pool. The land is currently owned by the city of Berryville. Fundraising efforts for the new library so far have included Easter and Christmas bake sales, dinners, Yankee Candle sales, a “Chicken Hop,” and multiple raffles and silent auctions.
A fundraising campaign is essential to the building project, because although the library receives tax money, those funds are restricted to regular library operations only. The current facility is 3,000 square feet, and the new building will be 8,000 to 10,000 square feet.
The Friends of the Berryville Library now has more than 100 sponsors and has raised over $35,000 for the building project.
Mayor Tim McKinney has asked city attorney Clint Scheel to work on a plan with the library board to donate the land to the project, which was approved by the city council. McKinney said this land was purchased by the city because of the encouragement of late council member Burt George, who believed in the importance of public libraries, and that the land would be a great place for public use.
McKinney also signed a proclamation that named October 20-26 Friends of the Library Week, which encouraged Berryville citizens to thank the Friends of the Library and join them in their efforts to build a new library and better the community.
On Nov. 7, the annual Friends of the Library meeting drew its biggest crowd yet, where Friends of the Berryville Library President Ann Richardson talked about some of the library’s recent programs. One of them is the recent partnership the library has created with Berryville schools, Bobcat Book Bus, which brings kids to the library twice a week over the summer for the summer reading program.
Richardson also announced an annual pledge of $10,000 to be given to the building project until enough money is raised to begin construction, along with a challenge to the community, including church groups and other organizations and businesses, to make their own annual pledges.
The Friends of the Berryville Library meet at 6 p.m. the first Thursday of each month at the library. For more information and updates, visit the Friends of the Berryville Library Facebook group and the Berryville Public Library page.