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Worcester libraries celebrate birthdays

By Tom Range, Sr.

The 10th Birthday celebration of the Friends of the Ocean Pines Library (FOPL), held on April 29 within the library, included the unveiling of the refurbished Children's Area of the building, funded substantially by FOPL. The "Great Revealing" included commentary on the creation of a delightful mural by its creator, the muralist Barbara Doyle Schmid, the unveiling of carpeting decorated with whimsical children's themes, new "kiddy" furniture and wall decorations.

The Annual Volunteer Tea was held immediately thereafter in the library's main meeting room where. Betty Burke was presented with the Volunteer of the Year Award in recognition of her many years of activities within the Friends. County Commissioner Judy Boggs read the Commissioners' Proclamation congratulating the Friends' contributions to the branch and to the Worcester County Library System as a whole. Musical entertainment was provided by The Rhythm and Blues Quartet.

Former FOPL President E. Nadine Miller reviewed the formative years of the Friends. Granted its charter in 1999 the Friends, prior to the opening of the library building, met at Ocean Pines Association accommodations and at the Atlantic General Hospital conference room. The county originally planned on naming the new facility the "Northern Branch" but Ocean Pines residents were successful in having the building, erected on donated land, given the same geographic description as those facilities in the four municipal areas of the county.

Volume 1, Number 1 of the Newsletter of the Friends of the Ocean Pines Library, dated February 2000, announced on its front page, "Library to open February 23." The accompanying article read in part "The Grand Opening is scheduled for 10 a.m. on February 23rd with appropriate ceremony. It has been long in coming. Many delays have occurred since early Fall. Now the new library will officially join the ranks of the other Worcester County libraries in Berlin, Ocean City, Pokomoke and Snow Hill." The article goes on to announce "The Friends of the Ocean Pines Library had organized in the past year (1999) and grown to over 350 members, with a strong desire to support this recent addition to the Worcester County Library System and was rapidly developing resources for the library."

The county's Library System has officially existed since 1959 when the libraries in the major towns Berlin, Snow Hill, Pokomoke City and Ocean City were united into one system. The first library association was formed in Berlin in 1910 in the town's Council room. Snow Hill followed with a library located in the rectory of the Episcopal Church, later moved to the Deposit and Savings Bank and later to the town's Municipal Building in the 1920s. Pocomoke's first library was founded in 1930, being housed in a storage room above a local clothing store, Callahan's Ladies' Shop, at a monthly rent of $10 and later in 1937 to the Municipal Building. In 1959, the Women's Club of Ocean City formed a free library known as the Atlantic Library in the town's Municipal Building. The city fathers granted the organization the use of a room on the second floor of the Dorchester Street police station, close to the jail cells.

The libraries of Snow Hill, Berlin and Ocean City joined to form the Worcester County Library System in 1959. The System celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Pokomoke City joined in 1960.

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Uploaded: 5/6/2009