Western Maryland Regional Library's Newsletter  --  March/April 2021
Maryland's library community celebrates the amazing life of Margaret Carty, who passed away on February 4, 2021. Margaret was an inspiration to us all and may she rest in peace.
A beautiful tribute and many photos of her life can be found at  
In addition, Margaret's sons - John and Bill - have shared a letter about what the library community meant to her. This letter, along with a statement from our president, Morgan Miller, is located at https://www.mdlib.org/margaret-carty

In 1970, the Westernport Library opened at its current location, 66 Main Street. Although plans for an in-person celebration in the Spring of 2020 had to be postponed, this important milestone in the library's history should be celebrated and we want the community to celebrate with us! This virtual celebration included former and current employees of the Westernport Library, The Allegany County Library System Director, John Taube, members of the Westernport Historical Society, and longtime residents of the area. Participants will share some of the history of the library and their personal stories and memories. After the speakers, members of the public are invited to share your own memories of what the Westernport Library has meant to you over the years or ask questions.
Watch the archived event HERE.

On January 28, 2021 the Directors from Allegany, Garrett, and Washington counties, and WMRL participated in a Zoom meeting with the Senators and Delegates from Western Maryland. COVID-19 made it impossible to have our usual Maryland Library Legislative Day in Annapolis this year, so we had to go virtual.
There were three pieces of legislation we discussed with the Delegation. The vote to override the veto of the Building Lifelong Library Learners Act, the vote to improve public library access to electronic book licenses, and the vote to support libraries and digital equity with the Digital Connectivity Act of 2021, were all on our agenda.
The Delegation spent nearly an hour with us as we talked about our legislative priorities and what they would mean to the citizens of western Maryland. They asked some very good questions, and were very interested in how we have all responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. They were all very impressed with how hard the library staff has worked to continue to provide, and in some cases expanded library services.
Special thanks goes out to our talented Public Relations staff in all three counties, Laurel Baker in Garrett, Ashley Swinford in Allegany, and Sarah Nadeau in Washington counties for the Legislative Priorities flyer they created. They concisely stated our case regarding all three bills that the members of our Delegation were able to refer to and print.
We are still waiting on the outcome for two of our bills, but the Building Lifelong Library Learners Act's veto was overridden and will go into effect in March.
Washington County branches reopened to the public (again!) on Feb. 16. As on the previous occasion, all visitors must wear masks and limit themselves to 1 hour or less in the building. Seating furniture is limited or unavailable. The public computers will be available, with precautions, such as extra space, and sanitizing equipment for customers to use before each session. Curbside pickup will continue, although with reduced hours in some cases, as staff shift to providing services for in-person customers. Online programming has continued to be very active. The Hagerstown children's department hosted a Zoom Valentines party - with 50 kids registered. The staff created kits that the children could pick up in advance and use for games and crafts during the party, which also included the reading of Valentines-themed story books. Coming up next will be a Doctor Seuss event to honor his birthday in March. The teen library council has also been active, using a Discord server for communication and file sharing.

It's official! RELIB will be fully open (with regulated COVID restrictions) on March 1st.  The patrons are very excited to be getting back to some semblance or normal.
"Blind Date With A Book" program at the Oakland and Accident branches has been very popular and will run until the end of March.  Stop into one of the participating branches and see if you would be surprised by your true love match! 

Western Maryland Regional Library, through its Western Maryland Historical Library website at digital.whilbr.org , is documenting local experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic by collecting photographs showing how the pandemic has affected daily life and the community.

Visual images capture details and creative responses that are not easily conveyed through words. Residents can help create a diverse collection that can assist future generations in understanding the impacts of COVID-19.

To learn more about this project and how to contribute photos, go to https://bit.ly/36TNjiy .

All are invited to contribute photographs taken by county residents. Possible topics are masks, social distancing, thanks for the emergency and hospital workers and unique quarantine activities. Submissions can also include photos of caring for others, distance learning, new kinds of jobs and daily routines that have changed. Pictures that capture how COVID-19 has impacted the community in all of its uncertainty, grief, hope and gratitude are welcomed.

Please edit as you see fit. And include my email if folks have questions. I would love library staff and patrons and general public responses from all three counties.  Wash Co has given us several, but not much from Allegany and Garrett. 

You know how to download an image from digital.whilbr.org ? I'm sure you do.

We'd like to give a shout out to our Western Maryland Library partners who are celebrating an Anniversary in March and April. Way to go! It is a pleasure to be able to honor your years of service with the Libraries of Western Maryland.  


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