Skip to main content

Worcester County Library History

undefined

Worcester County Library was officially inaugurated on December 8, 1959 when the Snow Hill, Ocean City, Berlin, and Pocomoke City Libraries combined. However, each incorportated town has its own unique library history. They will be detailed in their own pages.



Worcester County Library System

1950s

There had been discussions about forming a Worcester County Library system since the early 1950s. In 1958, these discussions took on a more serious focus. Forming a unified library system was not always a smooth process. The Snow Hill, Ocean City, and Berlin Libraries advocated for a county-wide library system while the Pocomoke Library actively fought against a library system funded by Worcester County.

What Can Johnny Read? In support of a Library System

"What Can Johnny Read" is an article from the Democratic Messenger on February 20, 1958 stating the importance of a county-funded library for adult education. The argument explained that the school libraries were doing a great job for youth education, but that adults had a severe lack of reading materials in their underfunded town libraries. These articles ran as an argument for the importance and necessity of forming a library system in Worcester County.  

As of 1958, only 9 out of Maryland's 23 Counties had not moved to a county library system model. This greatly helped the argument for a unified library because a county system model was becoming the norm for Maryland.

Against a Library System by the Pocomoke Library in 1958Many arguments ensued in the pages of the two main newspapers for Worcester County. The Worcester Democrat (located in Pocomoke City) argued against a unified library system, while the Democratic Messenger (located in Snow Hill) argued for a unified library system. This occurred many times over the years of 1958 and 1959.

"The Case Against a County Extension Library" was published in the Worcester Democrat on March 20, 1958 by the Pocomoke Library. The Pocomoke Library was against forming a library system because the library was doing well in Pocomoke City. The argument against a county library system centered on fears of losing autonomy over library functions and opposition to an increase in taxes. Overall, the leadership of the Pocomoke Library believed they had a dedicated base and did not need to expand their services.

Many local groups, including religious leaders and teacher organizations, favored the idea of a county-wide library system . Teachers emphasized the need to promote learning after K-12 school. The PTA for Worcester County was a driving force behind establishing a Worcester County Library system (Democratic Messenger. 1959, Jan 29. p.1).

Library Board Named

By the middle of 1959, the plan to form a Worcester County Library system had been established. The Worcester County Commissioners needed two things to happen to ensure the formation of a county-wide library system: 1) Establish the budget for the library system and 2) establish the library board who would oversee the library system. 

Worcester County Library officially formed on December 8, 1959 after Klein C. Leister was appointed Library Board President by the Governor of Maryland, J. Millard Tawes.

On December 10, 1959, The Democratic Messenger announced that Klein Leister would head the Library Board. Also on the Library board were Grace Jones of Snow Hill, Herman J. Baker of Bishopville, Elizabeth Laws of Ocean City, Mrs. J. Warner Foley of Berlin, Warne Littleton of Stockton, and Roy Timmons of Newark.

Worcester County Library System

1960s

Worcester County Library to OpenThe 1960s were a busy time for Worcester County Library. The first goal for the system was to establish a location for each of the 4 libraries: Snow Hill, Ocean City, Berlin, and Pocomoke. This process spanned 14 years before each town had a permanent location for their library.

In June 1960, Dorothy G. Moore was appointed the first Director of Worcester County Library (Eastern Shore Times. 1960, Jun 30). She guided Worcester County Library in establishing the Bookmobile and building a new Ocean City Library. Around the same time in 1960, after having moved through several locations in the 1950s, the Snow Hill Library moved to the building on the corner of Market and Washington street. (Democratic Messenger. 1960, Sep 22. p.1).

1962 inside the first Bookmobile

The first Bookmobile for Worcester County Library was purchased in August 1960. The library bought a used Bookmobile from Prince George's County and spent the remainder of 1960 preparing staff and routes (Eastern Shore Times. 1960, Jun 30). The first official run of the Worcester County Bookmobile was in January 1961 (Salisbury Times. 1961, Jan 25). The Bookmobile had higher circulation than each individual library during the 1960s. Pictured is the inside of the first Bookmobile for Worcester County Library in 1962. 

As of June 1962, there were 3,430 registered patrons and 48,874 circulated materials - an increase from 36,557 the year before. This was a striking indicator of the library's growth (Library records). 

Ocean City Library SketchFebruary 28, 1966 brought the groundbreaking for the new Ocean City Library on 14th Street. On July 25, 1966, the Ocean City Library opened after only 5 months of construction (Library records). This was the first library building constructed specifically for Worcester County Library and was the only library building that had air conditioning. 

Shortly after the opening of the new Ocean City Library, Dorothy G. Moore resigned in September 1966 after accepting a job in New York (Worcester Democrat. 1966). Wendell K. Arnote was appointed as the second director of Worcester County Library in October 1966. He would be instrumental in securing funding for new libraries in Berlin and Pocomoke. 

undefined

In July 1967, after many debates with the County, the library requested funds to purchase a new Bookmobile. Worcester County was hesitant to buy a new vehicle (Salisbury Times. 1966, Jun 7, p. 1). However, in 1966 the Bookmobile circulated 16,250 books while the Snow Hill Library circulated 16,003 books, making the Bookmobile extremely important to the mission of Worcester County Library (Democratic Messenger. 1967, Jul 27. p.1). The photograph here is of the new Worcester County Bookmobile purchased in 1968.

In October 1967, arguments for a new Berlin Library began. At the time, the Berlin Library was renting space in a building connected to a beauty parlor and was paying a great deal of money to rent. The original plan was for the Berlin Library to continue using their building and to eventually buy it. However, Worcester County Library decided against that strategy. Complicating matters was the fact that the County Commissioners wanted a new Pocomoke Library constructed at the same time  (Salisbury Times. 1967, Oct 12, p. 25)

Pocomoke Library Location ArgumentJanuary 1968, arguments began about where the new Pocomoke Library was to be located. The choices were to buy the Lynnhaven Baptist Church property, or land on Market Street between 3rd and 4th street. The church property was cheaper, but the Market Street land was better positioned. Many local leaders pushed to purchase the more expensive land in the middle of Pocomoke City's Downtown. The Worcester Democrat also pushed to pick the downtown location, as seen in the editorial article shown here  (Worcester Democrat. 1968, Feb 1. p. 2). The downtown lot was chosen in late February of 1968.

In early 1968, Worcester County Library began expanding their services. In January 1968, the Snow Hill Library began offering copying services via a copying machine, the goal being to make available copies of reference and non-circulating books to take home (Eastern Shore Times. 1968, Jan 18). Also, February 14, 1968 was "forgiveness day", where the library decided that anyone turning their books in on February 14, 1968 was to have all their fines waved (Democratic Messenger. 1968, Jan 31. p.8)

In March 1968, the new Bookmobile was purchased and started its service (The Daily Times. 1968, Mar 27. p. 24).

In November 1968, the Worcester County Commissioners approved the building of new Berlin and Pocomoke Libraries (Democratic Messenger. 1968, Nov 7. p.1)

During May 1969, controversy arose over a book disposal policy. The director had final say over weeding decisions, and Arnote was discarding books he felt had questionable standards of excellence. This angered Library Board members and members of the community (Democratic Messenger. 1969, May 15. p.10)

Berlin Library and Pocomoke Library Sketch

In September 1969, Worcester County Library broke ground on the new Berlin Library, to be located on North Main Street, on land gifted by the Berlin Fire Company. A month later in October 1969, the library broke ground on the new Pocomoke Library located on Market Street. The sketch here depicts the plans for the Pocomoke and Berlin Libraries (Library records). 

In 1960, Worcester County Library circulated 17,000 materials, while in 1969, Worcester County Library circulated about 90,000 materials (Eastern Shore Times. 1969, Jul 17)

Worcester County Library System

1970s

Worcester County Library began the 70s by opening the Pocomoke and Berlin Libraries. 

Berlin Dedication NewspaperOn April 27, 1970 the new Berlin Library opened on North Main Street. The Berlin Library cost ~$100,000 dollars, and contained 6,000 volumes. The library was designed to have two wings, one side for adult books and the other side serving as the children's wing. A large fireplace was located at the head of the adult wing (The Sunday Times. 1970, May 10). The dedication ceremony for the Berlin Library occurred on June 17, 1970.  Maryland Governor Marvin Mandel gave the dedication address, mentioning the importance of a "public library in a modern community" (The Sunday Times. 1970, Jun 21. p. A-9). 

undefinedOn June 1, 1970, the Pocomoke Library opened on Market Street. The Pocomoke Library cost ~$85,000, and contained 6,000 volumes, though it had the capacity to hold 10,000 volumes. The dedication ceremony for the Pocomoke Library took place on June 14, 1970. Library Board President Klein Leister gave the opening remarks for the dedication ceremony. After the opening, Dr. Jerome Frampton, President of the State Board of Education, gave the dedication address. In the address, Dr. Frampton noted that the Pocomoke Library was not a "rural library but a state library" (Worcester Democrat. 1970, Jun 18)

Arnote Death NoticeEarly on October 16, 1970, Worcester County Library Director Wendell K. Arnote passed away from complications after surgery. He was director for 4 years, during which he oversaw the opening of both the Berlin and Pocomoke Libraries (Library records). 

In January 1971, Esther V. Flory took the office of Director for Worcester County Library. Before taking the role of Director, Esther Flory was a senior information specialist at Baltimore County Public Library (Worcester Democrat. 1970, Dec 17). One of the most notable initiatives Esther Flory established a focus on building a local history collection. She was able to secure a collection of photographs from E. John Harris, who had a plethora of photographs of Pocomoke City residents (Worcester Democrat. 1972, Mar 2). 

Worcester County Library stepped into a new territory in 1972 when they decided to publish a book. November 1972, Worcester County Library published "Whaleyville", written by Dr. Arthur B. Cozzens (Democratic Messenger. 1972, Nov 22). This book is still available to this day in the Worcester Room at the Snow Hill Library. 

New Snow Hill LibraryIn December 1972, the Library Board approached the County Commissioners over the plans to build a new Snow Hill Library. The Commissioners were in no rush, but the formal process of review had begun for the Snow Hill Library, which was the last branch library without its own building (Democratic Messenger. 1972, Dec 13). In March of 1973, the Mayor of Snow Hill announced that the new Snow Hill Library would be built downtown, encompassed by Washington, River, Willow, and Bank Streets. A main reason in selecting the location was to remove the vacant buildings that were the first views when entering Snow Hill from Salisbury (Worcester County Messenger. 1973, Mar 15).

1974 was marked by the beginning of construction for the new Snow Hill Library. In April 1974, the plans were announced for the library appearance (The Sunday Times. 1974, Apr 21. D-1). On October 2, 1974, the groundbreaking occurred for the Snow Hill Library on Washington Street (Library records).  

In February 1975, in an effort to expand the local history collection for Worcester County Library, the "Snow Hill Messenger & Worcester County Advertiser" were purchased on microfilm for the years of 1830-1834 (Worcester County Messenger. 1975, Feb 5). The microfilm is still in our collection today, and is also available online through our digitized newspapers here

The Snow Hill Library officially opened on November 24, 1975, after over a year of construction. The dedication ceremony for the Snow Hill Library occurred the day before, on November 23, 1975. The address was given by Kenneth F. Duchac, the Director of the Brooklyn Public Library (Library records). 

Worcester Room photographDuring 1976, Esther Flory spent a considerable amount of time organizing a Worcester Room in the Snow Hill Library. This is where many local history pieces were located, such as microfilm, genealogy histories, historic novels such as "The Entailed Hat", and more (The Sunday Times. 1976, Dec 26). The Worcester Room has grown considerably since Flory first established it. In 1978, Flory also started a historic slide collection. In 1978, there were 600 slides (The Daily Times. 1978, Mar 3). Now, there are over 3,000 historic slides in the collection and they can be viewed here

In 1978, Worcester County Library began an oral history project, with the goal of interviewing older members of the community and asking about their lived experiences growing up in certain areas of Worcester County. There are about 100 oral histories that were created and they can now be viewed here.

Esther V. Flory ended her 7.5 year tenure as Director of Worcester County Library on September 29, 1978. The new Director of Worcester County Library, Claudya B. Muller, began on September 18, 1978 (The Daily Times. 1978, Sep 22. p. 9)

Claudya Muller New DirectorOne of the first services Claudya Muller expanded was inter-library loans. As of 1979, only about 300 materials a year were being inter-library loaned. Muller sought to change that by encouraging patrons to use the service for books Worcester County Library did not have (The Eastern Shore Times. 1979, Jan 24). In reference to Muller, the Daily Times stated: "Mrs. Muller, director of Worcester County Library, is one of a new breed of librarians who are drastically changing their institutions' public image. 'Libraries are not dull, stodgy places where everyone walks around on tiptoes and speaks in a whisper. And, they're not staffed by little, gray-haired, old maids either,' the pert 32-year-old administrator added" (The Daily Times. 1979, Apr 1. p. 19).

The 70s were marked the opening of three new library buildings: the Pocomoke, Berlin, and Snow Hill Libraries. The decade also saw three Directors, Wendell K. Arnote, Esther V. Flory, and Claudya B. Muller. Arnote helped open two buildings, Flory established a local history collection and opened the Snow Hill Library, and Muller finished the 70s by trying to re-imagine the image of Worcester County Library. 

Worcester County Library System

1980s

Berlin Library Usage DoublesWorcester County Library spent the 80s expanding their services while building better connections with the community.

The number of books borrowed from the Berlin branch doubled in February 1980 compared to 1979. The circulation in February 1979 was 2,363 while in 1980 it was 4,626. The Berlin branch had the highest monthly circulation, out of all the branches, for the first time since the creation of the library system (The Eastern Shore Times. 1980, Mar 12).

In May of 1980, Director Claudya Muller succeeded in acquiring a $20,700 one-year grant for a program called "Reading Readiness Realia". This program was similar to the Head Start Program, except it was provided through the library for free to any family who wished to use it. The program was designed to teach 3 to 5 year old children basic reading skills using parents and a child's love of play and toys (Maryland Coast Press. 1980, May 28. p. 7).

Also in May of 1980, The Ocean City Library renovations were considered "crucial". The renovations included fixing the air conditioning or insulating the Library. This was during a year when the budget needed cuts in order to balance. The air conditioning was malfunctioning, while the heating unit was emitting a nauseating smell of fuel oil. The library was so bad, that Muller stated the library would need to be closed on certain days in the summer because the inside was muggy. When the Ocean City Library was built in 1966, it was designed for a year-round population of 1,500. By 1980, the year-round population of Ocean City exceeded 4,500. Also, the amount of tourists coming to Ocean City had significantly increased since 1966 (Maryland Coast Press. 1980, May 23. p. 3 & 11). The Ocean City Library renovations officially began in December, 1980, and finished in January, 1982, after sporadic work on it. 

September of 1980, Worcester County Library began a new skill sharing service called "Skill File". The system was designed for people to register a skill with the library. A card would then be made and stored, and a person interested in learning or paying for the skill would be able to contact the person using the card made. If someone knew sewing, they could register with the library. Then, someone who was interested in learning how to sew, or wanted something sewn, could reach out to the person. The registered card would also mention if there was a price or if it would be free to contact the person (The Eastern Shore Times. 1980, Sep 17).

Friends of the Worcester County Library

The year of 1981 marked the beginning of the Friends of the Worcester County Library. Each of the 4 branches had their own Friends groups. The first meeting dates for the Friends groups were: January 22 (Ocean City), January 27 (Berlin), January 28 (Snow Hill), and January 29, 1981 (Pocomoke City) (Maryland Coast Press. 1981, Jan 14. p. 25). Although not every branch has their own Friends group today, the Friends have been a valuable asset to Worcester County Library. 

 

This year also saw a change in the way that overdue notices were sent out. In an effort to cut down on the cost of sending out three overdue notices, Muller decided to only send one overdue notice 6 weeks after the due date, beginning in  April 1981 (The Eastern Shore Times. 1981, Apr 22). However, in an effort to encourage patrons to return overdue materials, Muller added this line to the overdue notices: "you are reminded that Paragraph 180 of the Maryland Library Law makes it a misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to 200 dollars or imprisonment for up to three months to 'unlawfully take or detain library property." Including this caused a 30 to 50 percent increase in the return rate improvement (The Daily Times. 1981, Sep 7). The Daily Times even created an editorial showing Claudya Muller trying to free Worcester County Library of the weight of overdue books (The Daily Times. 1981, Sep 13. p. A-4). 

Claudya Muller Cartoon

1982 saw a huge push in the youth services department for "Project Out Loud". This was designed to encourage parents to read aloud to their children. Many school-aged children were underperforming in reading skills. Worcester County Library sought to help show parents how to read out loud with their children by setting up programs with community groups, clubs, PTA's, and family groups (The Daily Times. 1982, Apr 9).  

Bookmobile discontinuedOn July 1, 1982, the Worcester County Library Bookmobile ended its service after funding was eliminated. The move was encouraged by Director Claudya Muller, who explained that people must drive in order to do their shopping, and that the library hours are extremely flexible for any schedule. There was a growing lack of interest in the Bookmobile as schools were being combined or opening their own school libraries. Also, the Bookmobile was becoming costly to repair, and a new one was needed for the next fiscal year. Instead of spending $14,000 dollars on a replacement, the Library and County Commissioners agreed to cut its funding (Worcester County Messenger. 1982, Jun 17).

In 1983, a large collection was donated to Worcester County Library. The William D. Pitts collection was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Harry P. Calhoun. William D. Pitts was a surveyor of Worcester County. The collection included surveys, plats, maps, and patents of Worcester County dating back to the 1700s. Organizing this collection, containing over 4,000 individual items, was a huge undertaking (Worcester County Messenger. 1983, Sep 7).

Towards the end of 1983, Claudya Muller left Worcester County Library to become the State Librarian of Iowa. Stewart L. Wells was appointed as the new Director of Worcester County Library in October 1983. He came to Worcester County Library from East Chicago, Indiana where he served as an acting director for their library system (Worcester County Messenger. 1983, Oct 26).

Pitts Collection ExamplesStewart L. Wells, worked grow the local history section of the Library. This included asking for old telephone books, yearbooks, and other unique and interesting collections (Library records). 

In an effort to make the William D. Pitts collection accessible to the public, Wells applied for a one year grant to hire an archivist to process the collection. The grant was approved and archivist J. Todd Ellison processed the entire Pitts Collection from October 1986 to October 1987. In October 1987, the William D. Pitts collection was available to be viewed by the public (Library records). 

1989 marked the 30 year anniversary of Worcester County Library. There were open houses and speeches given at each of the four libraries by Director Stewart Wells and community members who worked at the library in 1959, when the library system was formed (The Daily Times. 1989, Oct 6. p. 26).

The beginning of the 80s marked a time when Worcester County Library was actively expanding their services under Claudya Muller. The bookmobile was one service that did not make it through the expansion, having been cut in 1982. After Director Muller left in 1983, Stewart Wells took over the position of Director. Under Wells, Worcester County Library built the local history and genealogy collection, while providing outreach and programming for the community. 

Worcester County Library System

1990s

Dorothy Moore ObituaryThe defining event of the 1990s for Worcester County Library was the construction of the Ocean Pines Library, the fifth branch in the system. Worcester County Library also focused on providing great quality programs, building their reference section, and building relationships with the community. 

On July 12, 1994, Dorothy Moore, the first director of Worcester County Library, died at the age of 92 (The Daily Times. 1994, Jul 27. p. 8).

As early as 1990, the addition of a Library branch in the northern part of the county was being discussed. However, in 1996, serious discussions began on the subject of constructing a new Worcester County Library branch in Ocean Pines. One of the main issues was where to place the Ocean Pines Library. In early conversations, some stakeholders wanted it to be placed on the site of the Ocean Pines Sports Core (The Daily Times. 1996, Jan 14. p. 11). 

One interesting fact is that the Ocean Pines Library was originally going to be named the North Branch Library. However, in 1999, the Friends of the Ocean Pines Library was able to convince the County Commissioners to change the name. 

Ocean Pines Library IssuesBy May of 1996, many issues continued to plague the creation of an Ocean Pines Library. The Ocean Pines Association (OPA)  had a list of conditions they wished to be met, including expanding the infrastructure of water and sewage, a road extension, parking, bike and nature trails, and more. Many people were opposed to requiring these stipulations; The Daily Times newspaper even published an editorial arguing against them (The Daily Times. 1996, May 14. p. 8). The Worcester County Commissioners were neither interested nor willing to invest in the projects the OPA demanded. 

In July 1996, plans to build a new Ocean Pines Library reached a stalemate. The County was not willing to pay for everything the OPA wanted, and so the issue of building a new library was put on hold  (The Daily Times. 1996, Jul 18. p. 9). However, other issues in regards to what Worcester County Library could do with 3.5 million dollars. Neighboring libraries were starting to move to a electronic card catalog system, and Worcester County Library received criticism for not having a more connected system (The Daily Times. 1996, Aug 1).

New Ocean Pines LibraryThere was not much discussion of a new library in Ocean Pines for the remainder of 1996. However, in January of 1997, the Ocean Pines Association sent out a proposal to build a new library to all residents of Ocean Pines. Voters had to determine if they were willing to give up 5 acres of land to the county for a library, or if they wanted the county to place a library elsewhere (The Daily Times. 1997, Jan 14. p. 6). In the end the residents of Ocean Pines voted overwhelmingly(3,588 - 637) in favor a new library. The vote ended a year of negotiation by the County Commissioners and the OPA. The County was allowed to purchase 5.2 acres of land at the south end of Ocean Pines for the new library. The expectation was that the construction for the new library would begin in the fall of 1997, and open by the summer of 1998 (The Daily Times. 1997, Mar 5).

The Ocean Pines Library did not open in 1998. Worcester County spent the rest of 1997 and the majority of 1998 laying new sewer and water lines for the community. On September 8, 1998, construction began on the Ocean Pines Library. It was a 15,000 square-foot facility that was built upon 5 acres of land and cost $3.34 million (The Daily Times. 1998, Sep 8. p. 30). The target completion date was September 1, 1999, while the target opening date was October 1, 1999 (The Daily Times. 1999, Jun 30. p. 42).

In 1999, as the Ocean Pines Library was finishing construction, the community of Ocean Pines wanted more acknowledgment that the library belonged to their community, in addition to a sign outside of the new Library. The President of the Worcester County Commissioners, Jeanne Lynch, agreed to add "Ocean Pines" on the roof of the building for $1,500. (The Daily Times. 1999, Oct 24. p. 14).

In 1998, Worcester County Library began offering internet access. However, issues arose during the first year about filtering software being installed on the computers. Court cases were ruling that filters constituted censorship, and should not be allowed in a library. Worcester County Library disagreed and wanted to keep the filters (The Daily Times. 1999, Mar 31. p. 53). 

Worcester County Library System

2000s

New Ocean Pines Library OpeningThe Ocean Pines Library officially opened on February 23, 2000, two years after the original anticipated opening. Within the first month, the Ocean Pines Library was serving over 300 people every day (The Daily Times. 2000, Mar 26. p. 10).

In September 2000, the Friends of the Ocean Pines Library installed a machine that enlarges the text of books for people with visual impairments (The Daily Times. 2000, Sept 02. p. 3).

In June of 2001, the Library began to explore the idea of building a new Ocean City Library. Since the Ocean City Library was built in 1966, it was designed for a much smaller population. On rainy days in the summer, one Librarian stated that the Ocean City Library was more packed than Walmart. There was also insufficient space for computers. As the need to send emails was becoming more widespread, the Ocean City Library was seeing long lines for computer usage. However, the Library Board President emphasized that building a new Ocean City Library would take years to accomplish (The Daily Times. 2001, Jun 08. p. 3).

In May 2002, the town of Ocean City was looking at purchasing a lot on 100th street for the new Ocean City Library. However, Connective Power Delivery, who owned the land, refused to sell or donate the land. Not being able to use the land caused a delay in trying to build a new Ocean City Library (The Daily Times. 2002, May 07. p. 2).

Director ArrestedDuring the Summer of 2003, Library Director Stewart Wells stepped down from his position with Worcester County Library. He was then arrested and charged with stealing money, books, DVDs, and CDs from Worcester County Library between fall of 1993 through May 2003 (The Daily Times. 2003, Aug 09).

In the fall of 2003, the Pocomoke Library began the process of constructing an addition to the existing building. The construction began in December of 2003 and was completed by June 2004. During the six month process, the Pocomoke Library remained open and continued to serve the community (Library records). 

Mark A. Thomas was appointed the new Director of Worcester County Library in August 2004. He was the Director of the Watauga Regional Library in Tennessee before coming to Worcester County. He had previous experience with building projects, and was very confident in his ability to manage building a new Ocean City Library (The Daily Times. 2004, Aug 09. p. 2).

In the summer of 2004, the Town of Ocean City gave land on 100th street to the County for a new Ocean City Library. In December of 2004, Mark A. Thomas pushed to expedite the construction of the Ocean City Library to begin by spring 2005. On this ambitious timeline, he stated: "My goal is, we're not going to be the brakes" (The Daily Times. 2004, Dec 16. p. 2).

Ocean City Library Construction BeginsConstruction on the new Ocean City Library began in October of 2006. It was scheduled to be completed in early 2008. The $6.4 million building is 13,000 square feet and was equipped with the latest technology, such as high efficiency lighting. (The Daily Times. 2006, Oct 29. p. 21).

During October of 2007, Worcester County Library was awarded a $20,000 grant to encourage reading and discussion of the same book. This program is known as The Big Read, funded through the National Endowment for the Arts. Worcester County Library chose to read and discuss "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neale Hurston. Worcester County Library used the $20,000 to provide scholarships to students, conduct fun programs based on the Roaring '20s, and host many book discussions (The Daily Times. 2007, Sep 20).

Ocean City Library OpensOn March 5, 2008, the Ocean City Library on 14th street ended operations and began the process of moving all materials to the new location on 100th street (The Daily Times. 2008, Mar 01. p. 11). The new library was a striking two story building with a large central atrium. The new building also contained the first self-checkout machine in an Ocean City library. Although not new to the system, it was the first time patrons of the Ocean City branch were able to check out their books without assistance from library staff. The new Ocean City Library officially opened on March 19, 2008 (The Daily Times. 2008, Mar 20. p. 13).

On June 16, 2009, Worcester County Library had a celebration at each of the five libraries. It marked the 500,000th item checked out for 2009. This was impressive, as circulation was up 25 percent from the year before (The Daily Times. 2009, Jun 16. p. 3).

Worcester County Library System

2010 - Present

One of the defining markers of the 2010s for Worcester County Library was the construction of a new Berlin Library. Also, in 2019, Worcester County Library eliminated fines for overdue materials. Throughout the decade, Worcester County Library has continued to offer excellent programs, expanded offerings in youth services, and strengthened other services such as employment help.

In June 2015, Director Mark A. Thomas retired from Worcester County Library. Jennifer M. Ranck was then appointed Acting Director in June 2015. Ranck was officially named the new Library Director of Worcester County Library in January 2016. Jennifer Ranck had served as deputy director of the library since 2013 and had previously served as the Director of the Somerset County Library (The Daily Times. 2016, Jan 11. p. A4).

New Berlin Library

In early 2017, plans began for the construction of a new Berlin Library. By February 2017, bids on the construction of the building had begun. The groundbreaking for the new Berlin Library on Harrison Avenue took place in June 2017. The new library cost $6.25 million and was quadruple the size of the old Berlin Library. Included in the library were a community room, a small gallery space for artwork, a local history room, and expanded collections for children, teens, and adults (The Daily Times. 2017, Jun 15. p. T5).

New Berlin Library Ribbon CuttingThe old Berlin Library officially closed on July 3, 2018 to move to its new location. The official grand opening ceremony of the new Berlin library took place on August 7, 2018. The community loved seeing the new library, with an amazing outside space and a community garden, and many energy-efficient features such as a geothermal loop system and triple pane windows. Also, the new Berlin library for the first time offered the services of a 3D printer to the Berlin community (The Daily Times. 2018, Aug 16. p. T7).

In November of 2019, Worcester County Library went fine free, eliminating all overdue fees on circulated materials (Library records).

Worcester County Library did not escape the impact of Covid-19 on the world in 2020. On March 13, 2020, Worcester County Library closed all locations to help in stopping the spread of the virus. In an attempt to continue providing services to the community, Worcester County Library began a Library to-Go service on May 27, 2020, where patrons could request books and receive them through contactless pickup. The meeting rooms of all five branches were also utilized as places to quarantine returned books (Library records).

In 2020, Worcester County Library began to plan for the construction of a new Pocomoke Library. One proposal calls for the construction of a new library building on Willow Street. The new library may share space with the Pocomoke City Senior Center (Library records).

Worcester County Library - 307 North Washington Street, Snow Hill, Maryland 21863 Email: contact@worcesterlibrary.org | Phone: 410-632-2600 | Fax: 410-632-1159