Silver Spring Voice

June 2010

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County approves Noyes Children’s Library Foundation’s proposed partnership BY SUZANNE EMERSON PHOTOS BY JULIE WIATT I f all proceeds according to plan, things will continue to work out for the Noyes Children’s Library, located in a quaint little building in the heart of Kensington. Jan Jablonski has been fighting to keep Noyes open since it was first threatened by closure nearly 20 years ago. The most recent threat came in March of this year when County Executive Isiah Leggett proposed to close the library for two years to save $202,000. That re-energized Jablonski and the Noyes Children’s Library Foundation, of which she is co-president. After many negotiations and compromises a partnership to keep the library open now appears to be set. Under the terms of the partnership, Noyes will continue to be run by Montgomery County and the Foundation will provide $70,000 in funding to pay the part-time library staff. The money can be paid on a periodic schedule, but the library still may be closed if the Foundation support falters. In a letter to Jablonski, Leggett wrote, “The new partnership agreement will be flexible enough to allow the Foundation to raise funds throughout the year, but will also allow the county to terminate services at Noyes Library in an orderly manner that is consistent with personnel regulations, should fundraising efforts not be successful.” For Jablonski, the battle to keep the Noyes library open dates back to 1991. At that time she was the head of Noyes Library Advisory Committee. Each library in Montgomery County has one of these committees, made up of regular users of the library. However, faced with the County’s first attempt to shut the library doors, Jablonski and her fellow LAC members decided to transform their advisory Foundation member Kathleen Neary says, “Walkers, bicycle riders, strollers, wagons, et cetera, are invited to participate. Games and other activities will be available for the entire family.” Jablonski feels that the purpose Noyes serves is unique and essential for the community. “Everything about Noyes is ideal for young children,” she says, “It was a library for all ages until 1970 when somebody from the Library Department had an idea to make it a children’s library. I think that person was brilliant.” Anna Luisa wears her ruby slippers as she checks out books from librarian Kwaku Armooh. committee into a nonprofit group with fundraising abilities. Jablonski recalls, “We went from being a group of people who held contests to name goldfish to a nonprofit that raised roughly $300,000 over the years.” Now the challenge is even more substantial. The group intends to host a gala auction in the fall, an event that proved to be very effective during the 1990s. Other possible fundraising efforts include special performances and benefit concerts. To kick off these efforts, which are collectively being called the “Save Noyes!” campaign, the Foundation is hosting a storybook parade at the library on June 12 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. The event is free and ideal for small children. Kids have the opportunity to dress up as their favorite storybook character and bring their favorite book. Foundation co-president Shelia Dinn has also long been a believer in the library’s value. She became involved with the foundation in 1992, initially because of her four older children who loved to use the library. Today Dinn is once again visiting Noyes with her eight-year-old and nine-year- old. She explained, “With so many things competing for kids’ attention, including video games and TV, Noyes has an important role in making sure that literacy takes root in young lives.” Dinn said she is grateful to the many willing volunteers who help out at the library, but stresses, “All the energy from the community to keep the library open must now be put towards fundraising.” Noyes Library is located at 10237 Carroll Place in Kensington. Hours of operation can be found at www. montgomerycountymd.gov/Apps/Libraries/branchinfo/ no.asp Join the Storybook Parade Saturday June 12 to kick off the campaign to keep the library open. Dress up as a favorite character (or carry a book). 10 AM to Noon at Noyes Library, 10237 Carroll Place, Kensington. Info: www.montgomerycountymd.gov/Apps/Libraries Maura Heery and her granddaughter Gabriela enjoy the pre-school literary scene. 18 SILVER SPRING VOICE • June 2010 “We come here all the time. We’re upset it might close. Education, reading, that’s the world. Take away books from children? That’s tragic. This is where you ignite the fuel, the excitement of reading and learning,” says Arleen Belman, who comes to the library with her grandson Daniel, above.

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