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Input sought on new public library building

By Staff | Apr 8, 2011

A public meeting will be held in Shepherdstown the evening of April 14 to solicit community input on a new building for the Shepherdstown Public Library.

The meeting will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. in the auditorium of the Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies on King Street on the Shepherd University campus.

Since the library serves county residents as well as residents of the town, everyone with an interest in the library is encouraged to attend.

The meeting will be led by Charles Alexander, an architect recently chosen by the Library Board to develop preliminary concept plans for a new building.

Alexander heads Alexander Design Studio, a small architectural firm that has a long history of working with nonprofit clients in historic communities. The firm is located in nearby Ellicott City, Md.

He will be accompanied at the meeting by Rich Bowra, a Harrisburg, Pa., library-planning consultant who works with the firm.

The meeting is intended to give all community members an opportunity to talk directly with Alexander and Bowra about the features, services, spaces and activities they would like to see in a new library building.

Additional community input will be gathered through focus groups that will be convened later.

Shepherdstown Library Director Hali Taylor said the goal is to ensure that the library project “is based from the beginning on the community’s views and the new building truly meets the community’s needs.”

The tentative site for the new library is a 4.5-acre parcel near the Clarion Hotel.

The project is still in its initial stages, and actual construction is not expected to begin for some time.

At this stage, Alexander and his firm will help the Library Board decide how large the new library should be and how it should be configured, and they will draw up preliminary, conceptual plans that are sufficient to develop a project budget.

This work should be completed by the end of the summer. It is being funded, in part, by grants received from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.

For more information about the library project, go to www.thelibraryproject.org.