Millington opens new reading room
MILLINGTON — Two-year-old Liam Eastman crawled up on a toddler-sized bench and opened a book Saturday morning, seated between his grandmother Shelly Holland and library patron Jill Starkey.
Liam was the first customer for Millington’s community reading room, which officially opened to the public with a 9 a.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony.
There are shelves and shelves of books and four computers, available to the public at no cost.
But the “library,” what was previously a storage room in town hall, is not a branch of the Kent County Public Library. There is no paid staff and the policy about lending out books is very generous. Returning books is good, sharing them with other readers is probably even better.
“You don’t have to bring books back, just keep passing them on,” said Town Administrator Jo Manning.
She said currently there are more books — for children, young adult and grownup readers, plus college textbooks and research books — than there is room.
Starkey, whose 6-year-old son Thorn likes to read, a lot, donated two cases of children’s books and said she has enough books for a third case.
“I buy books so much,” said Starkey, who also is a daycare provider in Millington. “Instead of the books just sitting around after they have been read, I decided to donate them. Anything to get our little library going,” she said.
Thorn Starkey cut the ceremonial ribbon Saturday. Mayor C.J. Morales and all four council members, including Thorn’s father Wayne Starkey and Liam’s
Jackie Adams, executive director of the Kent County Public Library, and Joe Harding, president of the library board, also were there to hold the ribbon.
Adams said Millington’s community reading room is part of the KCPL’s outreach program. She credited Manning with making it happen.
“Jo was the real impetus,” Adams said.
The timing was ideal as the KCPL was making upgrades to its Chestertown main branch. Carpeting, furnishings, bookshelves and computers were repurposed for a new home in Millington.
Volunteers and town staff — Manning, ClerkTreasurer Maggie Patterson and maintenance man Jim Baxter — transformed the unused storage space into what appears to be a library in all the ways that matter.
Cambio WiFi installed the equipment and set up internet access at no cost. The reading room is a “hotspot,” which means students who need
the internet to do their homework and adults seeking employment or updating their résumé can do so free of charge.
Manning said she expects it to be a happening place during summer vacation and any time students have a day off from school.
Currently the reading room is open only when the town hall is open: 8 a.m. to noon on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Manning said hours could be expanded, with Saturdays as an option, if she can enlist volunteers to help.
Liam Eastman, 2, of Upper Marlboro is the first patron of the library room in Millington’s town hall. Also pictured are Jill Starkey, left, who donated books, and Liam’s grandmother Shelly Holland, a member of the Millington town council.