By Sue Peters, FNFL Vice President
“There is truly something for everyone here,” said Diana Brown, Community Services Manager for New Castle County Libraries at the June 24 ribbon cutting for the new library in Middletown.
Created with significant input from the community, the 28,000 square foot, $20 million library offers more room for its collections. It is also home to a wealth of new spaces and technologies for just about everything under the sun.
“We’ve doubled the number of books in the children’s collection,” said Library Manager Kevin Swed, while holding up a staff T-shirt designed and produced in the new Maker Space. (The shirt design features the number 023.5, the Dewey Decimal number for library staff.)
Located at 206 Main Street in Middletown, the library is walkable and bikeable for many residents. Said Susan Kemer, President of the Friends of the Appoquinimink Library, “It is located within about a mile-anda-half of five or six schools with the highest number of free and reduced lunches. Those students are within a two-mile radius of this place. We know that those students are the ones that probably need these tools."
With a community meeting room that can seat 115, the APPO library also meets the public’s need for discussion and activity space. This all-purpose space is dedicated to the memory of James P. Young, a longtime Friend of the library and advocate for the new building who passed away in 2021.
The facility is a model of energy efficiency and sustainability with features including:
- High efficiency LED lighting
- Rooftop photovoltaic (PV) panels & solar powered site lighting
- Low flow plumbing fixtures
- Native species landscape design requiring no irrigation
- 4 EV charging stations
At the ribbon-cutting, speaker after speaker noted the collaboration and spirited discussions among town, county, state, and federal officials that made the library a reality. County Executive Matt Meyer, former County Manager of Community Services Marcus Henry, Mayor Kenneth Branner, Jr., New Castle County Council and the APPO Friends group were particularly mentioned for their involvement in the project. Many speakers called libraries a cornerstone of democracy.
Public opinion also strongly influenced the outcome; public meetings could involve more than 100 people. The process was not easy at times but was designed to yield the library best suited to the needs of the Appoquinimink community. The ribbon was cut as The Beatles’ “Come Together” played. Let’s look forward to making the process work as well for the new Newark library.