ASPEN HILL – After being closed to the public for eight months, the Aspen Hill library will open its doors Saturday at 10 a.m.
The branch closed on Nov. 8 for a “refresh” project designed to modernize its facilities and expand its offerings. The library’s staff was temporarily re-assigned to other branches during the closure. The staff returned to the branch last month.
Ken Lewis, the head librarian of the Little Falls branch, which is also closed for a refresh, is the new head librarian for Aspen Hill. The refreshed library is set to include new furniture for the children’s department and new and larger collaborative meeting spaces.
“We’re very excited about the re-opening,” said Montgomery County Public Libraries director B. Parker Hamilton. “We’ve gotten very good feedback from patrons of other branches that have been refreshed, and we are confident that the new Aspen Hill Library will be a valuable resource for its community.”
“We’re very happy and excited,” said Chris Swan, president of the Aspen Hill chapter of Friends of the Library. “Our members are chomping at the bit to get back into the library and check out books.”
Swan said she had expected the library to open two months ago, and that certain activities that had been scheduled for June, such as the start of the CPS summer reading program, have been pushed back to July.
Swan and her husband, Elliot Chabot, who serves as chair of the Aspen Hill Library Advisory Committee, have long argued that the library’s size is not adequate to meet the needs of its community.
“At the end of the day, this refresh was about fixing broken things, removing asbestos, repairing leaks in the roof, making the building ADA-compliant,” Chabot said.
“The community really needs a library fit for its size. The population of Aspen Hill in 2000 was twice was what it was projected to be when the library was built in 1967. The county needs to pay the attention here that they’ve paid to Wheaton. They own enough land here to construct a new building.”
Swan said the Friends of the Library will be commemorating the branch’s 50th anniversary after the re-opening.
“We will invite patrons to share their memories of the building, and we are also reaching out to past librarians to share their memories,” Swan said.
Swan said her group is still working with the library administration on redesigning the branch’s award-winning gardens, some of which were uprooted by the redesign.
Hamilton, County Executive Ike Leggett along with other officials and members of the Advisory Committee and Friends of the Library are scheduled to speak at Saturday’s re-opening ceremony.