All Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) closed operations March 16, 2020 due to the pandemic. Residents could use virtual services and MCPL eventually allowed holds-to-go for contactless pickups. Around May 2021, construction began for a refresh project at the Germantown Library, about one month before libraries began reopening their doors to the public.
Leaders and library-lovers gathered Saturday morning at the building on Century Boulevard, which reopened immediately after a ribbon-cutting ceremony. County Executive Marc Elrich, MCPL Director Anita Vassallo, Department of General Services Director David Dise, Councilmember Will Jawando and others participated in the ceremony to mark the occasion.
According to the county, the $1.1 million refresh includes new furniture, ergonomic desks, sound dampening acoustics, water fountains, bottle-filling stations and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility upgrades. The facility offers an Assistive Technology Workstation with a magnifier and large-print keyboard, two early literacy computer workstations and 10 laptops for use in-library, along with other public-use computers.
The library has enhanced Wi-Fi, two charging stations for devices and seven self-checkout stations.
Jawando, the Lead Councilmember for Libraries, shared an example of what libraries mean to the community through a recent email from a Gaithersburg Library branch manager. A man, who library employees had previously helped on the computer, became employed through his job search at the facility. He went back recently for online onboarding, Jawando said. He was homeless and now has an apartment.
“And now as we’re trying to recover from COVID[-19] and get kids back on track who have fallen behind in school and make sure our seniors have services and people connect to jobs, libraries like Germantown — and this one in particular because it’s such an important hub — are critical,” he said.
Following the event, residents explored and enjoyed the refreshed library.
— Maryam Shahzad (@maryam_mcm) October 16, 2021