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2021-22 Recap

Looking back over the statistics and accomplishments from 2021-22, there's a lot for our amazing staff to point to.  This year, the Library continued to rebuild in the wake of the new reality created by COVID-19 with expanded programs, expanded partnerships, and even expanded buildings.  Some of these changes were a long time coming, and they have been very well received by our patrons, who have been returning to the Library in ever-increasing numbers, as our statistics bear out.

Our Summer Reading Club this year recorded the largest number of signups in its history with 732, who read a collective total of 2,416 books.  Our 1000 Books Before Kindergarten initiative, meanwhile, continues to build steam with new completions all the time, which are heartwarming to see and point to a new generation of readers being created in Garrett County.  The Library also launched a new program that gives out collectable buttons for reading classic literature, and many of our patrons have really taken to it – we’re glad to see these works rediscovered by new readers!  We were proud to be able to thank our patrons for all of their support during National Library Week with “Patron Appreciation Bags” made possible by our wonderful Friends. 

The Friends are one of the key partners throughout the County that have been instrumental in making this such a successful year for the Library.   Our friends at Crellin Elementary School once again started their monthly visits towards the end of the school year, and we were very happy to welcome them back.  We were also proud to take on a new role during the pandemic, partnering with the Health Department to distribute COVID-19 test kits and KN95 masks to those who need them – and demand was (and remains) high.  We continue to provide legal assistance via Maryland Legal Aid, and have this year started to work with the Department of Social Services to connect people to the programs out there available to help them.  We partnered with the Vagabond Taproom in downtown Oakland to put on an enjoyable series of pub trivia events in the winter and early Spring, and with the Victorian Chautauqua Writers’ Workshop to sponsor opportunities for kids to develop their writing skills during the summer – with the generous help of the Friends of the Library once again.  And over the course of the year the Library has been involved with the planning for the County’s Sesquicentennial celebration, providing an opportunity to showcase our local history resources. 

Our Libraries themselves have seen great improvements this year, too.  The highlight has been the progress that has been made at Friendsville, which has doubled in size thanks to the support of the Town, and for which we are currently seeking grant funding for a new building, made possible by our local elected officials.  In the meantime, our new Branch Manager, Melissa Custer, is hitting it out of the park with great programs and an expanded collection.  Meanwhile, we have successfully expanded opening hours at Kitzmiller, where fun new programs have seen a great response from the community.  Grant funding also made possible the addition of long-sought-after study rooms at the Main Library – the two pods that were installed have seen a lot of use from the public. 

All in all, it has been a great year - we look forward to more progress in 2023!

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