By MADDY VITALE
A late Ocean City resident left a generous gift to the Ocean City Free Public Library to help the library continue to be a one-stop resource for more than 20,000 patrons each year.
William Landis Haines passed away at the age of 84 on June 27, 2021. He donated money to individuals, as well as funds for a host of charities, OCFPL Board of Trustees attorney Steve Barse explained at a meeting Monday.
Haines left $148,000 to the Ocean City library, Barse said.
“He had substantial wealth. He had a couple of million dollars left and he gave to nine charities and 16 people,” Barse told the board. “We received some already — $48,000.”
The remaining $100,000 left by Haines to the library will come after the will’s executor gives approval, Barse explained.
The library board unanimously approved the funding through a resolution.
There was one reason that stood out why Haines may have left funds to his local library, Barse said. Haines spent his career as a librarian.
According to his obituary, Haines served as an academic librarian in colleges in New York and Chicago, retiring from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y.
Barse emphasized what a kind thing Haines did to remember his local library.
“It is a very generous gift,” Barse said, adding that Haines did not even ask that his name be placed on anything in honor of his contribution.
Ocean City Interim Schools Superintendent Dr. Scott McCartney, a representative to the library board, asked if the funds were restricted or unrestricted.
Barse said that they were unrestricted.
Haines only wished that those who received the funding do as they see fit to benefit the charities, he pointed out.
“He was just a good person,” Barse added.
In other matters, Library Board President Jennifer Shirk had a family emergency and could not attend the meeting.
Vice President Fred Marcell led the meeting in her place.
He asked about progress with the library’s planned second floor renovation project and if there were any updates.
Library Director Karen Mahar said that she will go over the updates with Mayor Jay Gillian and report back at the meeting in December when Shirk is in attendance.
Mahar gave a report about upcoming events, including the OCFPL and Community Center’s joint Holiday Festival, Sunday, Dec. 3.
Mahar noted that it is a wonderful family-friendly event. It will feature activities from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., such as holiday crafts, a balloon sculptor, live music, refreshments, and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus.
She also mentioned the Colony Club of Ocean City’s “Tree of Warmth” clothing drive, which is done in collaboration with the library from Dec. 4 through Dec. 18.
People are asked to donate new or gently used hats, scarves, gloves and mittens. The items will be donated to the Clothes Closet of Ocean City.
“They start collecting after Thanksgiving, gently used, scarves, gloves and hats,” she said, adding that it is an important donation drive.
In other matters, a popular family-friendly activity is getting spruced up.
Chris Wilson, president of the OCFPL Friends and Volunteers, said there is a group of volunteers who signed up to clean the StoryWalk.
StoryWalk, which began in October 2020, is a reading program at Lake Memorial Park, 407 Wesley Ave. Families stroll along the park and read the books spread out on holders along the path. But like anything else, the holders need maintenance and cleaning. That is where the volunteers come in, Wilson said.
“I was glad to hear that,” Mahar said of volunteers helping with cleaning the holders. She added that it will be a “huge help” to Children’s Librarian Taimi Kelley, who is in charge of the StoryWalk.
In addition, Wilson said that Scout Alex Costello is creating a mini-library at the StoryWalk for all to enjoy.