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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Event kicks off capital campaign

(Oct. 1, 2015) Mayor Gee Williams and other local officials on Saturday presided over the public unveiling of plans for the prospective new $4.5 million, Berlin library on Harrison Avenue.
The event also helped launch a capital campaign, which hoped to raise $300,000 for furnishings in the building through the Worcester County Library Foundation.
County Commissioner Bud Church followed Williams, saying the mayor had already covered “about 90 percent” of what he wanted to say.
“It was Worcester County’s pleasure to give the [Worcester County] Library Foundation $2 million to build a very, very worthwhile project in the Berlin Library,” he said. “Nobody could be any more proud of something in their town than a library.”
Church said he felt especially connected to the library after spending an extensive amount of time touring the town with Ron Casio, from the library foundation, looking for an appropriate site for the new building.
“You picked out the best one,” Church said. “Ron and the other folks that work at the foundation have done a terrific job and it’s going to be a huge asset to the town of Berlin [and] it’s going to be a huge asset to the Worcester County community.”
He quipped that the new $1 million would come, “from either the state, Ron Casio or the mayor.”
Worcester County Commissioner Diana Purnell then said she would cover “the last one percent,” adding, “Bud’s going to write that check for a million – I know he is.”
“For a 21st century community we always need that 21st century library,” she said. “We are telling the community that we have Blue Ribbon schools, so we need this library, we need it because it all fits together.”
Purnell said she was certain the community would help fulfill the foundation’s capital campaign.
“One thing I know about the community of Berlin and Ocean City and Pocomoke and Snow Hill – we come together,” she said. “When it’s something that’s really needed, we get it done.
“It’s our pleasure to stand as commissioners and say we’ve got your back. We’re going to do what we can do,” Purnell added.
Berlin Councilmember Lisa Hall, during her statements, said the Eastern Shore often “lacks in needs” over the western shore.
“With this county commissioners, the mayor and council of Berlin and the other mayor and councils, we’re all fighting to bring these amenities to the Eastern Shore so that we can have what our children need,” she said. “A lot of people can’t afford Wi-Fi, don’t have laptops [or] computers – that’s what new libraries are about, giving everyone the tools that everyone needs.”
Delegates Mary Beth Carozza (R-38C) and Charles Otto (R- 38A) were also on hand and Carozza said it was essential for the community to show its support.
“I think a library, as a community center, should be a priority,” she said. “We already have support from the county and the state, now we need to show the community financial support and support from private donors.
“We understand there will be there will be a request for another state grant in the next fiscal year,” Carozza continued. “Del. Otto and I can turn and say, ‘We’re well aware of the community support and private sector support,’ so we really need to highlight that involvement.”
Carozza added that she was particularly interested in the children’s section at the new library.
“As a young girl, I remember going to the library was an adventure,” she said. “You didn’t know what you were going to pick out and the building itself was always exciting. When I look at [the mock ups], I think it will excite children in a way that makes it fun for them to learn.”
Otto, meanwhile, called the library a “fine improvement.”
“I always had an interest in the libraries because I find that as a place where people can help themselves,” he said. “It gives them the opportunity and the facilities to make life improvements.”
Worcester County Library Director Jennifer Ranck said she was thrilled for the chance to introduce the new library plans to the community.
“It just feels great to be here and show everybody where the library is going to be, how convenient it is to downtown,” she said. “We wish the weather was a little bit better, but we’re just so happy to see our supporters here today. This is just a great way to kick [the capital campaign] off.”
Along with soliciting donations, Ranck said the foundation is hoping to raise additional funds through a memorial brick sale.
“The state and the county have been very supportive, but we want to make this the best library that it can be for the community and have some extra things in there like an early learning space for children, a great meeting-room space upstairs, as well as some outdoor areas for people to meet, congregate, learn and have fun,” she said.