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A library we love. How does it work?

By Staff | Dec 26, 2014

The public library in the middle of King street is bigger than it looks.

“The reason we’re still successful is that we have a courier,” explained library director, Hali Taylor. They also have a storage unit. When a patron requests a book, it may well be because the book isn’t on site. This is common in the age of inter-library loan. The difference is delivering from another library versus a metal building with roll-up door.

The president of the library’s board, Libby Sturm, says, “It’s really only 1,000 usable square feet on each floor.” She isn’t counting things like the little kitchen and staircase in the back.

It works by way of a fine-tuned rotating system.

“When we add a new book we have to remove an old one just to have shelf space.” Taylor said.

But upstairs the assistant children’s librarian, Anne Eden, was quick to explain it depends on the time of year. Summer tends to create lots of shelf space while people are reading for Library challenges.

They shift and stack and rearrange.

“Every little bit of space is used to the max,” said Sturm. Many residents say this is part of the library’s charm.

“Quaint is good to a point.” Eden said, eager to provide a stage where kids didn’t have to perform around book shelves.

“As far as customer service, we were voted one of the best in the country.” Eden referred to a 2006 selection of the Shepherdstown library in a book called “Heart of the Community: Libraries We Love.” The book chose 80 public libraries from across the United States and Canada.

One of the ways the library makes up for its small space is by going high tech. Residents can not only check out eBooks, they can also get a kindle. There are 10 of the eReaders available.

So while space is limited, character and ingenuity are not, making the white building with the eyeball and tree uniquely, a “library we love.”