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New friends for the Thurmont Library

(2/16)  Libraries need friends, just like people do. In the case of the Thurmont Library, those friends have formed a new group, Friends of the Thurmont Library.

"They are going to support the regional library in the extra things we do," said Thurmont Library Manager Erin Dingle.

Jake Beck and his wife Carla have been members of the Friends of Frederick County Libraries since 2001 and they are helping the Friends of the Thurmont Library get started. Jake said most of the library system's money comes from the state through the county government, but it doesn't provide for all of a library's needs.

"What we don't have any money for is books, oddly enough, and we don't have any money for programs." Jake said.

That's where the friends groups help by raising money to pay for new books and programs that keep a library relevant in its community.

The Friends of the Thurmont Library is a new group, having met only four times and is still writing their bylaws. However, the group has big plans, beginning by helping make the new regional library's grand opening a success next year.

"I'm very excited and anxious to see this group get started," Dingle said. "I can see where they will have a real impact on what we offer at the library."

Last year, Friends of Frederick County Public Libraries donated $5,000 for the children's summer reading program, $1,000 for the Story Telling Festival, $400 for the Library Friends and Family Fall Fest, $200 for the Annual Legislative Reception, and $150 for a staff member retirement party. Money is raised through donations and fundraisers, according to Carla.

Friends groups aren't new to Frederick County. The Friends of Frederick County Public Libraries was formed in 1999.

"All Frederick County libraries have either just gotten a friends group or are starting a group," Dingle said.

The new Thurmont Regional Library is expected to be about 25,000 square feet (as compared to the current building of roughly 1,500 square feet). It will feature two meeting rooms, two quiet study rooms and plenty of parking.

Dingle said the new library will also have a Thurmont History Room and Frederick County Agricultural Archive.

"The Thurmont Historical Society voted to move their library to the new library," Dingle said.

The change will mean more people will have convenient access to the resources of Thurmont Historical Society's Library.

Friends of the Thurmont Library plan to meet monthly and annual dues are just $10. For more information, call the Thurmont Library at 301-271-7721.

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