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State board approves Pocomoke library grant

A nearly $4 million state grant will advance the construction of a new planned library in Pocomoke.

Pocomoke rendering

A rendering shows the proposed design of the new Pocomoke Library branch.
Courtesy rendering

By Bethany Hooper, Associate Editor

A nearly $4 million grant will advance the construction of a new library in southern Worcester County.

On June 5, the Maryland Board of Public Works approved $15.16 million in grants for seven public library systems across the state. As one of the recipients, Worcester County will use its $3.99 million to construct a new library branch in Pocomoke.

“Our public libraries are vital hubs that cater to individuals of all ages, backgrounds and capabilities, offering invaluable resources necessary for daily life, education, civic engagement and professional development too,” Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller said. “Libraries provide so many valuable services for Maryland communities. Therefore, our commitment in investing in libraries is paramount. That is why we are proud to advance this item today and ensure public libraries in seven jurisdictions have the best amenities, technology and space.”

Of the seven recipients, Worcester County is one of three jurisdictions to receive grant funds for the construction of a new library. The Pocomoke branch, which opened in 1970, will be replaced with a 12,000-square-foot facility at its current location on Market Street.

“The library’s facility plan identified many necessary infrastructure replacements including the need for a new roof, new HVAC equipment, and increased electrical service,” a project description reads. “Additional space is needed to support current and future functions. A new library will support active learning and expand the library’s ability to offer programming.”

Officials last month reported the total cost of the project is estimated at $8.1 million, which includes $400,000 to $500,000 in value engineering. The grant funding approved at the state level requires a 100% match from Worcester County.

As proposed, the new library will feature gallery space, rain gardens, a children’s porch and dedicated reading areas. The design will also allow for multipurpose meeting space that will be accessible to the community when the library is otherwise closed.

Worcester County is expected to bid out the project later this year. The goal is to open the new library branch in late 2025 or early 2026.

This story appears in the June 13, 2024, print edition of the Bayside Gazette.