CAMBRIDGE — The Dorchester County Council during a meeting Tuesday, Aug. 6, approved a request to provide $7,000 toward a new building project for the Dorchester County Public Library in Hurlock.
The funding specifically will help pay for a feasibility study, which will determine whether the space the town has set aside for the project is suitable for a new library building.
The space that’s currently being considered for the library upgrade is a roughly 9,000-square-foot lot that was donated by the town of Hurlock. The lot is down the street from the current Hurlock Branch Library, next to the Veterans’ Memorial Park.
Hurlock Branch Library Manager Sara Sears said this project is important for the county and for Hurlock residents because the library is a “vital information hub in the community.”
Sears said the building out of which the library is currently operating simply doesn’t have enough space to accommodate its patrons.
She said there’s only a seven-foot seating area where library-goers can use their laptops, read or tutor and do research. As of now, the library has to use that same space to provide in-house programming, like workshops and hosting guest speakers.
During such events, the library has to move all of the seating out of the way, using the entire public space, and forcing library staff to push out community members who are looking for a quiet place to work or learn.
Sears said with a new, bigger building more Dorchester residents could benefit from the library’s services.
“North Dorchester and Hurlock are full of potential,” she said to the Council members. “The library continuously strives to meet the needs of its community as best we can, but we need your help to expand with the growth of the county.”
Hurlock Mayor Michael Henry also attended the meeting to underline the importance of moving forward with the building upgrade and realizing the town’s plans to do so.
“We believe in this project so much that we had the opportunity to provide the property to the library and the county and are willing to work with [the Council] in achieving this goal,” he said.
Henry also spoke to the library’s popularity among community members, saying, “It’s a rare occasion when we can ride by or stop in and find no one [in the library].”
“We support this and we hope you will as well,” Henry said to the Council.
The feasibility study costs $28,000. The town of Hurlock, Crosby & Associates and the library each covered $7,000 of that total cost. Dorchester County will provide the final $7,000.
The Council approved the library’s request unanimously, and confirmed the money would come from the county’s contingency funds.
Dorchester County Public Library Director Crystal Henningson closed the group’s presentation to the Council by saying she hoped the Council also would be interested in supporting the project once the feasibility study was completed.
Henningson said she anticipated the study would be completed and the findings revealed sometime in the spring of 2020.
The official design of the new library has not been determined and talks of that will convene following the results of the feasibility study.