County plans branch and central libraries

: Wednesday, July 11, 2007

By BRIAN IANIERI Staff Writer, Atlantic City Press

CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE - The county will build libraries in Stone Harbor and Sea Isle City and plans to borrow about $5 million for the construction, county Administrator Stephen O'Connor said Tuesday.

The county asked both municipalities to identify land on which to build the branches. The Stone Harbor Library is now located inside Borough Hall. The Sea Isle City Library is located on John F. Kennedy Boulevard on the main entrance into town.The county is preparing for changes to its library system at its branch libraries and possibly its main facility in Cape May Court House.

Last month, freeholders hired Garrison Architects of Mt. Laurel, NJ, an architectural firm to design plans for a library and education center on the grounds of the Cape May County Park & Zoo. That proposal, which is still being explored, would relocate the county library's main branch now on Mechanic Street in Cape May Court House.

"The county's really looking at enhancing its library services," O'Connor said. The mayors of Stone Harbor and Sea Isle City said their libraries are too small. Sea Isle City even renovated its library and doubled the library's size several years ago, but it was still too small, said Leonard Desiderio, Sea Isle City mayor and county freeholder.

"It served its purpose years ago, but with the modern Internet and stuff, we need a library we can be proud of," he said.

Finding the location of a new library in Sea Isle City may be easy. Its existing facility is downtown and not attached to any other buildings."It's in the center of town. Anywhere else I think it would be hidden," Desiderio said.

In Stone Harbor, it may be trickier, because they can't rebuild the library in Borough Hall. Walters said Borough Council has not yet discussed where a new library could fit.


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