Officials: Harrington library to see growth, new programs

HARRINGTON — Harrington City Council this month approved the acquisition of land for the new Harrington Public Library — a currently empty field between Lake Forest South Elementary School and Friendship Village.

Half of the $205,000 asking price will come from state funds, said John Phillos of Delaware’s Division of Libraries.

Space and safety has become an issue in recent years in the old, deteriorating building that currently houses the local public library, said Marleena Scott, assistant director of the library.

The Harrington Public Library didn’t find its way into its current location until 1989, after it began with more modest roots in a trailer in July of 1978.

Before becoming a public library, its current building housed several facets of city government, including the city hall and the police station. It also served as a funeral home, which yields many stories of years gone by for the current occupants.

The building at 110 Center St.,  sits at about 2,000 square feet. Large enough to house some books, computers, a children’s nook and a meeting room, it’s not large enough to accommodate growth, according to Ms. Scott.

Safety is also an issue as pipes, siding and other structural components to the building continue to age with little repair.

While staff and local residents wait for the new building that has yet to be designed, programming must continue. The library maintains regular computer and job classes, a teens club and storytime for its youngest of patrons. Newer programs include reading to dogs, Minecraft gatherings and an art program for children.

Eyeball It! is the newest program introduced to the library. With lesson plans created by Ellen Paige, a Delaware-based artist, the program seeks to get “real art for busy kids and busy families” into the hands of library patrons across the state.

No prior art experience is needed for this free, unique series of studio art projects for kids ranging from 7-12 years old.

Delaware’s Division of the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts donated $600 to the program to purchase art kits for up to 10 students and 50 pounds of clay.

“It’s the space. We just can’t accommodate more than 10. But we’re just really excited about it. We want to reinforce art in local schools. And we don’t have an after-school program yet, but we will have this for a while,” Ms. Scott said.

Library leaders said they hope to display the art work created in Eyeball It! sessions during Heritage Day in an art gallery of its own run by the teen club.

Participants will have the opportunity to explore with a variety of mediums to create clay pieces, cityscape paintings and other creations. To register, call the library at 302-398-4647.

Jennifer Antonik writes special reports for the Delaware State News

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