Planning for a new library in Delmar has been underway for a number of years, starting with the Space Needs Assessment completed by Himmel and Wilson, Library Consultants, in August 2006. They concluded that the current 4,980 gross square foot facility is inadequate to serve the twenty year projected population. The primary reason that this is true is that the current building will not be able to house the materials necessary to offer the public 3 volumes per capita, the statewide standard established by the Delaware Division of Libraries. Furthermore, the Library’s program of service is extremely hampered by a lack of space. It is the assessment of the consultants that a facility of 11,000 gross square feet is justified to serve the DELAWARE portion of the Delmar Library’s service population.
In November 2007, Himmel and Wilson completed A Building Program for the Delmar Public Library. The consultants acknowledged the difficult task involved in undertaking a building program for Delmar:
Raising the funding necessary to build an addition on the current facility will require a great deal of hard work on the part of many people. Nevertheless, the consultant’s experience with the people of the Delmar area and nearby communities leads us to believe that such an effort is feasible. As was mentioned earlier, many, if not most people in the area regard the Library as an integral part of the community. They understand the importance of a quality public library to the quality of life the community offers….Andrew Carnegie once said, ‘A public library is the most important thing a community can do to help its people.’ Carnegie’s statement is no less true in 2007 than when the words were spoken one-hundred years ago. Building a library is not a step to be taken lightly. The people of the Delmar area will be living with the decision that is made in regard to the Library for decades to come. However, the importance of making the decision should not deter the Library Board from pursuing this important dream. The long-term vitality of library service in the area is at stake.
In 2010, the Library’s Board of Commissioners issued an RFP to solicit proposals for architectural and engineering services for the construction program. In 2011, Board members selected the Becker Morgan Group (www.beckermorgan.com) for the project. In November 2012, Board President William Nichols signed the contract with Becker Morgan representative Brad Hastings to commit the Library to the project.
The Library Board of Commissioners also signed fundraising consultants Building in the Spirit. Their role, to advise and raise the necessary funds needed to complete the building project in a timely manner, was seen as an essential and important component of the campaign.
Led by Brad Hastings and Ellis Hammond of the Becker Morgan Group, the Library’s construction committee met in December 2012 to discuss assignable space for the Library, based on the 2007 Himmel and Wilson Building Program study for the Library. Two additional meetings continued the discussion. In April 2013, the first set of schematic drawings was produced and in May 2013, the Library held an Open House inviting the public to see the architectural renderings of the planned new Library and provide feedback and comment.
Signed in October 2012, Building in the Spirit was contracted as fundraising consultants for the capital campaign and attended many of the construction committee meetings throughout the winter and spring. In June 2013, the consultants convened the first meeting of the Steering/Advisory committee for the building project and charged them with planning events to raise awareness of the project and raise the monetary support required for this project. Building in the Spirit will also identify local businesses, financial institutions, corporations, and foundations, as well as individuals to contribute to the campaign.
A series of events have been held as part of the capital campaign, either as major fundraisers or as community awareness events. Footlites Productions presented a murder mystery dinner theater performance at a show held at the Delmar Fire Hall. The Fabulous Hubcaps were our guests for the 75th Library Anniversary dinner/dance held at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center in 2015. The Hubcaps returned in 2016 due to popular demand. The capital campaign has held quarter auctions and beef and dumpling dinners at the Delmar VFW. Local restaurants have held Dine Out for Delmar Library to raise awareness (and funds): Delmar Pizza, Delmar Hardee's restaurant, Applebee's, The Greene Turtle, Grotto Pizza, Bob Evans Restaurant, Chili's, Chipotle, Five Guys, Ruby Tuesday, and Wawa. Items for sale include tee shirts and book bags. The Friends of the Delmar Library helped by wrapping gifts at Barnes and Noble and by starting the commemorative brick sales. We have received hundreds of individual donations in support of the building campaign. Delaware foundations have been major donors and include the Longwood Foundation, Welfare Foundation, Crystal Trust, Delaware Community Foundation, Laffey-McHugh Foundation, Marmot Foundation and the Arthur Perdue Foundation. Support was also provided by grants from The Bank of Delmarva and M&T Bank.
In 2015, the Delmar Board of Library Commissioners began discussions with NCALL (National Council on Agricultural Life and Labor research Fund, Inc.) to provide the Library with a Construction Line of Credit loan in the amount of $3.5 million. The Board also obtained a loan commitment of $2 million from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and its Rural Development program.
With the support of the Council on Libraries, the Delaware Division of Libraries, the Delaware Department of State, and the Delaware State Legislature, the Delmar Public Library has been awarded financial support that will reimburse approved expenditures incurred by the Library in the construction process up to 50%. Beginning in FY13, the Delaware State Legislature awarded total bond bill funding of $2,275,000 toward the project. An additional $500,000 is requested for FY18.
With the support of our community, our Town of Delmar elected officials, our County and State representatives, the Delmar Public Library will begin a new chapter of Library service for the community in a spacious new building, slated for its Grand Opening in 2018.