Westernport update, 1985
If you've been a visitor at hospitals, recreation areas, nursing homes in Allegany County and had some time to read, you may have noticed that books are placed in some of those areas for your convenience. The books at Frost Village, Rocky Gap State Park concession stand area and camper's store, Frostburg Community, Sacred Heart and Memorial hospitals, and at the Allegany County Health Department are provided by the Allegany County Library system.
Robert Neal, librarian, says the "free reads" program depends on books the branch managers consider worn or for which they no longer have room.
At Westernport's branch library, they've only discarded 3,228 in a 10 year period. Most have been rechanneled or used in this free reads program.
A few patrons forget to bring books back after they've checked them out, so the system loses items that way. Neal says some libraries in Maryland or metropolitan areas are to the point where automated circulation control is being used. Patrons can be spotted as owing overdue fines or having a history of damaging or losing books as a laser beam checks over his or her card much like the checking system used in some grocery stores.
Neal has visited libraries in Anne Arundel County, Enoch Pratt Library in Hagerstown and Carroll and Harford County libraries. Computer data bases are used for various library tasks in those places, he noted
Mary Ord, former branch manager at Westernport, can remember when simple environs were the case in the Westernport area. The library provisions began in 1924 according to Neal's records. The Westernport and Luke Civic Club often provided volunteers if librarians were very busy. Mrs. Ord remembers being a grade school student at St. Peter's and trekking to the Washington Street spot where the library was housed for years, getting advice or help from the likes of Bella Tonry, Nellie McCoy, Elizabeth Thomas and Junior Mays' mother.
For a while, the stacks were upstairs in the building which is presently used by the Allegany County Health Department. Then, expansion forced a move downstairs, where Doctor Dinesh Shah has an office.
The 1969 building effort was met with approval by many in the community. Its children's section is as large as some area libraries.
Westvaco provided $10,000 for the building and more came from elsewhere to provide the community with a branch library some communities envy. Neal says Lonaconing residents have been trying to get a library in their community, but economics and the success of the Bookmobile has administration moving away from building efforts and more into financing the purchase of books for the present facilities.
As of June 30,1984, Neal tells how he categorized the volumes found on the shelves at Westernport:
Adult fiction, 10,903; Adult nonfiction, $6,185; Juvenile fiction, $6,558; and juvenile non-fiction, $3,727,
News Tribune. Mountain Echo. Keyser, WV
Public libraries, Maryland, Allegany County; Allegany county Library System (Md.), Anniversaries.
Allegany County (Md,), 1960-2010