Library Board of Trustees Reorganizes, New Museum Director Discussed

Library Board of Trustees Reorganizes, New Museum Director Discussed

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By MADDY VITALE

The Ocean City Free Public Library (OCFPL) Board of Trustees reorganized during a virtual meeting Monday. A new trustee member will be named this week and a new director of the Historical Museum was hired.

Board of Trustees member Brian Broadley was on the nominating committee for the officers to the board. He named the selections.

Jennifer Shirk remains as president of the board, Fred Marcell continues as vice president and Connie Pritchard stays on as treasurer. Lauren Cowden replaces Ron Denney as board secretary.

Shirk, an author, has been president of the board since 2014. She noted that she enjoys serving on the board.

“Thank you again for nominating me as president for another year,” Shirk said. “I thank you for your support. I will be putting together committees for the next board meeting.”

She added that there is a new Board of Trustees member, who will replace Dustin Peters on the board. The position is on the City Council agenda for approval Thursday night.

Shirk did not say the member’s name, but said she would be announced soon.

She also said that Broadley is on the agenda for reappointment.

“They will both be on the agenda for Thursday,” Shirk said. “I spoke with the new board member. She was very nice and will make an excellent trustee.”

Also on the agenda, OCFPL Director Karen Mahar said that the library would remain open and continue with its limited service unless things change with the pandemic.

Shirk said that was a good course to follow.

The library will continue to offer limited hours while staff members adhere to COVID-19 safety measures.

The library, located inside in the Ocean City Community Center, has been operating with limited hours with all safety protocols in place.

Mahar said that at least for now, the library will continue with the current, shortened hours of operation. The hours are Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and extended curbside hours Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Since the library reopened after the initial COVID-19 state shutdown on public buildings in the spring, the library has installed features to strictly adhere to safety requirements, including Plexiglas dividers, hand-sanitizing stations and self-checkout stations.

In other business, Mahar said she spoke with the new director of the Ocean City Historical Museum, Kate Devaney.

She said the two met this week. “I think she will be a real asset to the museum,” Mahar said.

The position has been vacant since the former executive director, Jeffrey Granahan, left the post at the end of 2019.

In addition to the Historical Museum, Devaney will oversee the museum at the Life-Saving Station at Fourth Street and Atlantic Avenue, as well as the Lifeguard Museum located within the Bayside Center at 520 Bay Ave.

The Historical Museum, which is located in the Community Center, has been closed amid the pandemic.

“I know there is a delay to opening to the public, but we have a meeting set up to help them with virtual programming for the spring,” Mahar explained of plans for the library to work with the museum.

She also said the library has reached out to help the museum staff and volunteers who have been working to reconfigure the museum and offer new exhibits and improve existing ones.

“We have offered up some shelving to the museum,” Mahar said. “I think it will help them with organizing.”

The museum remains closed while new exhibits and improvements to old ones take shape behind the scenes. (Photo courtesy Ocean City Historical Museum)