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More Than a Place to Pick up a Good Book

More libraries and more to do at them
      Three revamped libraries are underway to enrich Chesapeake Country. Today’s libraries look very different than those of yesterday.
      “For at least the past 20 years, public libraries in America have been in the midst of a revolutionary transformation,” explains Skip Auld, CEO of Anne Arundel County Public Library. “Our new Annapolis Library will kick off a renaissance of public library services, resources and programs in Anne Arundel County. No longer just a repository of materials to check out, our new libraries will be community hubs where people’s lives will blossom and grow.”
       “Creating pathways for the community” is the vision behind the new Annapolis library. Career advancement, college prep, hang-out spots, school readiness, spaces for teens to explore and be creative and meet-ups where adults can make connections are some of those pathways.
       In Anne Arundel, the new Annapolis library on West Street is rising to replace a library more than a half-century old. The foundation is being poured with the goal of getting the steel and roof up quickly so work can be done inside when the weather gets cold. Opening is planned for spring 2020.
      Design is also underway for a spring 2021 library replacement in Riviera Beach.
      In Calvert, a new $8 million Twin Beaches library will come to North Beach in 2022, replacing the outgrown branch now in Chesapeake Beach.
     “It’s clear that the area deserves a better building,” says Carolyn McHugh, president of the Board of Library Trustees. The current library on Harbor Road does not have meeting rooms, teen areas or quiet study space and has limited room for classes.
      Both North Beach and Chesapeake Beach sought to lure the new branch, with North Beach — the site of the earliest Twin Beaches branch — the winner.
      “The site at 5th Street and Chesapeake Avenue is a corner spot that runs from one street to the next; has access from multiple directions; is within walking distance of a dense housing area and has complementary activities in the area,” says Calvert Library spokeswoman Robyn Truslow. 
       Construction on a building fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act is scheduled to begin in 2021.
       “We hope to have quiet study space, meeting room space, tutoring space, space for library classes and events,” Truslow says. “More computers, better Wi-Fi access, more comfortable seating and a better selection of materials that are more easily borrowed.”
      Wherever you live, you’ll be welcome at the upcoming libraries, plus Anne Arundel’s 16 and Calvert’s four operating branches. If you live, work, attend school or own property in Maryland, you’re eligible for a free library card with statewide privileges.