WESTERN MARYLAND REGIONAL LIBRARY
11,000 Frostburg Branch | 6,000 SF George's Creek Branch
8,700 SF Lavale Branch | 9,600 SF Washington Street Branch
5,900 SF Westernport Branch
The libraries of Western Maryland, represented by the Western Maryland Regional Library serve 251,573 residents in Allegany County, Garrett County, and Washington County, Maryland through its 19 branches, 1 mobile vehicle, and virtual presence. Just over 165,203 residents, or 66% of the population, have library cards. In FY16, borrowing of the 786,735 items in the collection exceeded 1,725,767, 4.6% of which was downloadable material. The system saw 1,136,985 million visitors through our facilities’ doors and experienced 3,248,701 million virtual visits. Inquiries or requests for assistance totaled 295,068. Over 1,143,403 public PC sessions were logged.
WMRL has never completed a building study nor had a comprehensive master plan in place for its member libraries. The aging infrastructure of the buildings in the system is beginning to show and require more frequent maintenance. In May, 2017, Western Maryland Regional Library applied for, and received, a grant to complete a facilities needs assessment and master plan. Three proposals/quotes were solicited, and the WMRL Board selected HBM Architects. HBM has completed over 350 library projects. They recently completed two 10-Year Master Plan for library systems with 19 branches that is comparable to Western Maryland’s 19 branch system. HBM’s familiarity with library standards as well as the 21st century library needs of today’s communities make them well-qualified to compile and present this study.
Facilities – their design, their locations, their condition, and their capacity to accommodate 21st century technologies – can either facilitate or constrain how effectively and efficiently library services are provided to the County. This Master Plan meshes projected community library needs, user experience improvements, and library data analysis into a concise planning resource for the WMRL system. The Plan enables WMRL’s member libraries to apply for future state capital grants, as well as other grant opportunities that may arise, and it will establish priorities that help guide both short-term and long-term building decisions and planning for the next decade.