May 3, 2010

Status of Noyes Children's Library

On April 14th, the Noyes Children’s Library Foundation hosted a community meeting about the County’s proposal to close Noyes. The following is a recap of that meeting and a short list of actions people can take to support Noyes. Thanks!Thank you all once again for coming out to support Noyes last Wednesday evening! Here is an update on the status of the Foundation’s proposal to the county and the actions we can all take. We are still in the midst of a series of meetings to get a budget resolved so that the Council can fully consider the Foundation’s proposal.

The Noyes Children’s Library Foundation – established in 1991 in a public-private partnership with Montgomery County to help fund the Noyes’ operating expenses when the County proposed to close Noyes for budget reasons – called the meeting to give the community information about the County’s proposed closure and changes to Noyes, as well as the Foundation’s “counter-proposal,” and how the community can help keep Noyes open.

#1 – In March 2010 the County announced plans to close Noyes in July ’10 for two years to save Operating Budget funds in this very difficult economic environment.

#2 – Meanwhile, the Friends of the Library received an $85,000 bequest designated for the enhancement of Noyes. With this bequest as the beginning of funding . . .

#3 The Library Department, with verbal support from the County Executive, announced that it would use the two-year closure to renovate Noyes for ADA accessibility and to re-purpose the Library as an “early literacy destination” modeled along the County’s existing Learning Discovery Centers and Baltimore County’s Storyville locations. The Director of Libraries met with members of the Foundation to discuss these plans and ask for the Foundation’s support.

#4 – In response, the Foundation proposed that it re-establish its public-private partnership with the County in order to help fund Noyes’ Operating Budget beginning with FY ’11 (as of July , 2010); raise funds to assist in proposed renovations; AND insure that Noyes will remain a circulating library by expanding that renovation to include accessible use of Noyes’ second floor for literacy activities and programming space.

#5 – The Foundation seeks community support for this proposal; community involvement in raising funds and awareness; AND the support of the County Council for the renewed public-private partnership. It is hoped that all parties understand that a community effort to enhance Noyes will help guarantee that it is not threatened with closure at every budget crisis!

#1 – County representatives with whom we have discussed the proposal feel that the Council will be in favor of it as long as it is revenue-neutral – in other words, as long as the Foundation agrees to contribute the complete amount that MCPL designates as being saved if Noyes closes. This figure has not been determined yet, but will probably be around $100,000.

#2 – If we are able to keep the Library doors open as of July 1st, we will next join with the MCPL in researching and, if feasible, planning the proposed renovations and enhancements to the Library. These could include ADA changes, providing stairs and a lift to the second floor, and preparing the second floor for use by families, caregivers, and groups as an early literacy destination with features that complement the services already provided at Noyes, without compromising its character. SOURCE: Kensington History

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