Community Foundation of Washington County Opens Community Book Warehouse
With Washington County schools just about out for summer break and the annual summer brain drain on the horizon, the Community Book Warehouse is opening just in time.
The grand opening and ribbon cutting was Thursday at the book warehouse's second-floor location at 24 N. Walnut St. in Hagerstown.
Terri Gwizdala of the Washington County Early Childhood Advisory Council spoke about the evolution from a community book drive to a permanent space for the current collection of about 13,000 children's and adult books.
She said the Community Book Warehouse is modeled after the Book Thing of Baltimore and was about two years in the making.
"The purpose is to repurpose unwanted books to provide for those who want them," Gwizdala said.
Most books are from the annual community book drive that starts in August and culminates with the United Way Day of Caring, which this year is Sept. 20.
In the past, there was a mass distribution of books to county children. The book warehouse lets Washington County residents and local agencies connected to literacy efforts pick out books they want for free.
Individuals are allowed to pick five books during each visit, and agencies can select a book for each client they have.
The books are also being using to help stock the 76 Little Free Libraries in the county. Little Free Libraries are free, outdoor book exchanges in communities.
Helping Gwizdala cut the ribbon were Hagerstown City Councilwoman Shelley McIntire; Stacy Henson, coordinator for Early Learning for Washington County Public Schools; Kathy Kerns of the Judy Center; Kathy Powderly of the Hagerstown Area Religious Council; and Dori Yorks of the Washington County Family Center.
Stacey Crawford of the Community Foundation of Washington County and James Kercheval, representing OnTrack Washington County, also attended.
McIntire presented a proclamation by the Hagerstown mayor and city council.
"First of all, congratulations. ... This is welcome to downtown and I think it will be well utilized for those that want the books," said McIntire, noting the importance of improving literacy outcomes for children and adults in the community.
The Community Book Warehouse is a collaborative effort of area agencies and organizations, including the Community Foundation of Washington County, Hagerstown Area Religious Council, Hagerstown Rotary Club, the Judy Center, OnTrack Washington County, United Way of Washington County and Washington County Public Schools.
While the warehouse is not currently accepting book donations, the inventory will be replenished through the annual community book drive that begins in August.
Organizers need more bookshelves, as well as volunteers to staff the warehouse when it is open to the public. The hours are 4 to 7 p.m. the second Friday of the month and 9 a.m. to noon the second Saturday of the month.
Source: Herald-Mail Media