When the Dare County Board of Commissioners meets at 8 a.m. Friday for a special retreat to begin fiscal year 2020-21 budget discussions, members of the Southern Shores library committee will be there.

You could not keep them away. It would be difficult to find a more organized, purposeful, and determined town group. And now these go-getters are seeking your support for the new “Northern Dare” library in the form of emails to the commissioners and signatures on a petition.

“We’re in the budget discussions,” committee member Lilias Morrison reported to the Town Council at its meeting last week. “We’re not in the budget.” (See The Beacon, 3/8/20.)

“So much depends on public support now,” she said at a committee meeting last night.

To get into the Dare County budget, committee members recognize that they need to continue to advocate and to secure public support for the library, which would serve the towns of Duck, Southern Shores, and Kitty Hawk, and the Martin’s Point community.

Dare County currently has library branches in Manteo, Hatteras, and Kill Devil Hills. There also is a Currituck County branch library in Corolla.

According to Dare County Librarian Jonathan Wark, Ms. Morrison said, the county library system has 1800 members who reside in the 27949 zip code.

Ms. Morrison appeared before the Dare Commissioners on Feb.18 to present the committee’s proposal for the library, which would be located in a 2,570-square foot building owned by TowneBank at 6 Juniper Trail in Southern Shores.

“The commissioners were very attentive and interested,” she told the gathering last night.

The potential library space was formerly occupied by Vandeventer Black law firm. The bank has offered to rent the building to the county for $1 per year for 10 years.

Before contacting TowneBank, Ms. Morrison explained, the committee investigated space in the Marketplace, Southern Shores Crossing, and the Harris Teeter shopping center. Members did their shoe-leather research before TowneBank came through with its generous offer, for which it asks in return some acknowledgment as a benefactor.

The library committee is hopeful that county employees will have compiled cost figures for library shelving, equipment, and other expenses for the commissioners to consider Friday. The committee has already secured an estimate for adapting the Juniper Trail office building into a library of $150,000 to $175,000.

According to the county website, Dare County’s FY 2019-20 budget was $168,817,454. Ms. Morrison said that the budget for all of its libraries is about $1 million.

In addition to housing books, periodicals, and other standard library acquisitions, the Northern Dare Library would have computers and meeting space for adult and children’s programs, including speakers and tutorials. Ms. Morrison specifically mentioned the scheduling of adult wellness and enrichment programs that are popular at the other Dare County library branches.

Committee member Loretta Michael said she could envision library walls covered with notices of community events and happenings and referred to the proposed educational resource as a potential “center of the community.”

For a brochure about the Northern Dare Library, which includes a proposed floor plan, see https://www.southernshores-nc.gov/library-branch-northern/north-dare-library-brochure-_feb-2020/.

The committee urges you to email a letter expressing your support and interest in the Northern Dare Library to the Dare County commissioners, who may be contacted, collectively, at DCBOC@darenc.com, or individually, as follows:

Chairman Robert Woodard: woodard@darenc.com

Vice Chairman Wally Overman: wallyo@darenc.com

Commissioner Rob Ross, who is the Commission’s library liaison: rob.ross@darenc.com

Commissioner Steve House, who represents Duck, Southern Shores, and Kitty Hawk: steve.house@darenc.com

Commissioner Jim Tobin: jim.tobin@darenc.com

Commissioner Danny Couch: dannyc@darenc.com

Commissioner Ervin Bateman: ervin.bateman@darenc.com

Ms. Michael suggests that you mention in your email specifically how you and the community would benefit from a library in Southern Shores. She has prepared some sample wording, which you may access at file:///C:/Users/Annsj/AppData/Local/Temp/suggested%20wording.pdf.

(The Beacon does not know how many of the committee members may be former teachers or librarians, but committee chair Michael Fletcher was wearing a Library of Congress sweatshirt last night–a gift from his librarian daughter, who works there.)

Ms. Michael is also circulating a petition in support of the new library. You will find a copy of the petition at the Town Hall reception desk, along with brochures about the Northern Dare Library. You also may arrange to sign the petition by contacting Ms. Michael at ljbobx@charter.net.

Please direct any general inquiries about the library proposal to Lilias Morrison at liliasm7@gmail.com.

Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 3/10/20


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s