Shepherdstown Public Library, Shepherdstown

#11 of 12 in Things to do in Shepherdstown
Who is the “Shepherdstown Public Library?”

In 1922, the Shepherdstown Women’s Club created a library on the ground floor of the Old Market House, & proceeded to build a collection, allocating half of the space to the children’s section. The library expanded to the second floor in the early 1960s, & in 1972, the Corporation of Shepherdstown applied successfully for “public” status for the library, making the library eligible for state funding. The Library is run by a 5 member Board of Trustees, appointed by the town council.

Mission Statement:

“SPL is committed to providing a variety of information sources, educational and cultural programs and services to fulfill and inspire a civically and culturally engaged community.”

• SPL’s mission is devoted to issues of literacy, early childhood exposure to books, K-12 education support, recreational reading, and information on issues of local, national and international interest.

Why build a new library?

• Under WV Library Working Standards, SPL is mandated to serve one third of the population of Jefferson County (approximately 18,000 people) by providing 0.6 square feet of library space per resident. Therefore, our library should currently be 10,800 square feet to provide appropriate services to the community.

• The current size of SPL is 2,000 square feet. This is less than 20% of the appropriate size to meet the current needs of the community.

• Due to such extreme space limitations, many library programs (including SPL’s popular children’s programs, which sometimes involve 200 children or more) must be held off-site. Additionally, no handicapped access is currently available.

• In Oct 2009, the Library Board of Trustees invited 11 members of the community and library staff to plan for the library’s future. The strategic plan that resulted has as its first goal to “build a new library and community center with resources to meet the current and future needs of the greater Shepherdstown community.”

What is the vision?

• A phased approach to design and construction of a new library complex is envisioned over a period of 5 years. The primary and initial focus is construction of a new, environmentally friendly library and community learning center, with ample space for materials, library programs, and community meeting space.

• As financial benchmarks are met, additional features may include an indoor/outdoor amphitheater for library and community use, and walking and exercise trails connecting to a greater network of trails in and around Shepherdstown.

• The community will be involved in the process by attending focus group meetings that will be conducted throughout the community. The ideas collected at these meetings will be incorporated into the overall vision.

How will construction be financed?

• Two grants received from the Benedum Foundation have allowed us to engage a professional architectural firm to determine the approximate size and cost of a new library.

• SPL has on hand funds and funding commitments totaling approximately $400,000.

• Efforts are underway to identify funding sources from municipal, county, state, federal and foundation sources.

• A funding campaign will be launched to raise whatever additional sums may be necessary.

What site is being considered for construction of the new library?

• SPL identified two major priorities determining site choice: (1) The site must be within walking distance of both schools and town residents, and (2) site acquisition and development costs must be feasible.

• A 4.5-acre land parcel near the Clarion Hotel owned by the Corporation of Shepherdstown, and currently zoned as a Brownfield, was identified that meets both key priorities: it has been made available to SPL at no charge, and is within walking distance of both schools and town.

• Safe access to the site will be included in the planning process.

• Alternative sites that meet the two key criteria will be considered if the current site becomes unfeasible.

What are the benefits of building on a Brownfield?

• Building on a reclaimed “Brownfield” is a matter of good stewardship of the land, community responsibility and environmental cleanup funding opportunities. It provides the opportunity for adaptive reuse of property that is currently unusable.

• Preliminary financial analysis indicates that the cost of reclaiming the Brownfield and bringing the parcel to code—currently estimated at $400,000 to $500,000—is comparable to the cost of purchasing an existing undeveloped commercially zoned parcel.

• Federal EPA funds in the amount of $200,000 have been received for the cleanup phase of the project.

What is being done to ensure that it is safe to build on this Brownfield?

• The land parcel was utilized as a town dump for municipal household waste for 15 years, from 1954 to 1969.

• In 2001, the EPA assessed the parcel, including extensive sampling for pollutants (such as pesticides and levels of naturally occurring chemicals) from groundwater wells and pit samples. A second reassessment of the wells and pits was made in September 2009.

• Groundwater samples were found to be uncontaminated. Localized pockets of soil contamination have been identified, and the remediation process will address those areas. A synopsis of the reports with all pertinent data is available upon request.

• SPL has worked closely with the WVDEP to explore the specific measures and costs associated with various options to fully restore this land parcel to a safe and useable status for our community. All environmental reclamation practices being considered meet health and safety standards of both federal and state regulatory statutes.

How can you get involved?

• If you would like to be involved in this exciting project for your community or if you have any questions, please contact the library at the above address or Using our online itinerary creator, Shepherdstown attractions like Shepherdstown Public Library can form part of a personalized travel itinerary.
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Shepherdstown Public Library Reviews
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12 reviews
  • Nestled in the center of town this white library stands out among the brick buildings surrounding it. I love how unique the library is with the small tree directly in front, it’s one of my favorite...  more »
  • This is a great small town library. It's not biggest, but it definitely remind you of what it's like to be in a small town, where there are plenty of options, with a librarian that can answer every...  more »
  • More than just a library, its a piece of history. This building and the parking lt behind it used to be the market. I hear it still is a marlet at some time of the year. Look at the outside of the building, like many market buildings it used to have an upstairs on stilts, but now the gaps between the stilts have been bricked in, however you can still see what it would have looked like. Sadly the whipping post round the back is no longer there.
  • Worth a visit.

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