On Tuesday, October 4th at 4 PM the Selbyville Public Library will be holding a groundbreaking ceremony for its new building, and everyone from the community is invited to share in this moment. Kelly Kline, Library Director for the Selbyville Public Library, is grateful to the community and all the people who have been involved in the various points along this journey to make the new library building a reality.
Kline says, “We want to invite the community to be involved in this moment because the new library belongs to them. This is a family-friendly event, so bring your kids and be ready to watch us break ground, under the tent, shovels in hand!”
The start of the new library building has been years in the making, beginning in 2016 with the completion of a needs assessment. These projects involve a lot of moving parts from requesting the support of the state Council on Libraries to community involvement to fundraising to architectural planning. This project would not be happening without funding from the state of Delaware’s Bond Bill, and the American Rescue Plan Act, (ARPA), which is a federal program designed to help revitalize communities after the pandemic. Furthermore, these appropriations allow construction to begin much sooner than originally anticipated.
Some of Selbyville’s most prominent organizations have strong relationships with the library, which date back to its inception. The library itself was formed in 1932 by the Selbyville Community Club and initially operated out of the Club Room of Red Men’s Hall. The Selbyville Community Club and the library partnered on many efforts through the decades, most famously on Youth Art Month, which transforms the library into a gallery for Selbyville’s young artists. The library then moved to the Salem United Methodist Church in the late 1940’s. To this day, the library still utilizes the Salem Church for the programs that are too big for its meeting room.
Kline is also quick to point out the rich history of the library as it relates to the families of John G. Townsend Jr. and Dr. Asher and Pauline Carey, who were both instrumental in the homing and furthering of the Selbyville Public Library to its current point. Kline explains, “We wouldn’t be here without the Townsend family who gave the library a literal home for over 50 years as well as the Carey family, whose gift helped the library in its previous stage of growth 20 years ago. The location of the new building is also part of the Carey donation. The contributions from these two families endure, and we are so grateful.”
The new building will be a substantial upgrade for the community. The meeting room in the current library holds about 30 people, whereas the new building will be able to accommodate 150 people for larger activities and gatherings. While most of the new library building project is currently funded, there are continuing operational needs, so fundraising is an ongoing effort as construction gets underway. The project, which can be viewed on the library’s website at https://www.selbyvillelibrary.org, is expected to open in the early winter of 2023, as long as there are no unforeseen delays.
Kline and her staff would like to formally invite the community to experience the making of the Selbyville Public Library’s continuing history as they move into the next phase of growth. The groundbreaking ceremony on October 4th at 4 PM will happen rain or shine, and refreshments will be available afterward in the library to celebrate.