Montgomery Blair High School's Online Student Newspaper
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Nov. 11, 2013

New Downtown Silver Spring library to open Oct. 2014

by Grace Hill, Online Managing Editor
The new Silver Spring library is currently in the final design stage and is scheduled to open in Oct. 2014. The expanded library, which will be located at the corner of Fenton Street and Wayne Avenue, will have five floors and a basement. Other improvements include new books, an added arts center and gallery, extra classroom space and a coffee bar.

One of the main goals of the project is to provide a public space that is "designed to better serve [Silver Spring's] demographically and ethically diverse residents and its growing business community," according to the project file on the Montgomery County Office of Management and Budget's website. New features such as a Digital Innovation Lab, a Connection Corner for elementary school age children and increased access to outlets for mobile device users are meant to expand different groups' use of the facilities.

The new library will be 63,000 square feet, about four times bigger than the current library's 13,600 square feet. It will also be an environmentally friendly building, with a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification. According to the Gazette, this certification will be due to "[a] vegetative roof to deal with stormwater management, use of recycled content and material manufactured within 500 miles from the library, and energy efficient ventilation equipment."

Part of the new Silver Spring library. Emma Howells
Part of the new Silver Spring library.
The building's design will allow for a station from the Metro Purple Line, which is currently in development, to be on the site. Parking for patrons will be available in the Wayne Avenue garage across the street from the site.

Blazers will take advantage of the library when it opens in a year. "I'll probably use [the new library]. It'll be nice that it's in Downtown Silver Spring, since that's more convenient than the current library," said sophomore Caitlin Miller.

The existing Silver Spring library is the oldest library in the Montgomery County Library System. When it closes next year, it will have been in use for 57 years, from 1957 to 2014. It is also the second smallest community library and has the smallest collection of non-periodical materials.

The Montgomery County's Capital Improvement budget, as well as state grants from the Maryland State Department of Education and the Division of Library Development Services (DLDS), will fund the project. It is estimated that it will cost approximately $69.5 million.

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