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Relax, Read and Enjoy Library Under a Tent

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By MADDY VITALE

Soon, patrons of the Ocean City Free Public Library may take in a good book and enjoy the shade and sunlight when a large outdoor tent is installed just in time for summer.

The temporary structure will be installed on the north end of the library at the 17th Street entrance, OCPL Director Karen Mahar said in an interview Tuesday.

“The tent was approved for this summer,” Mahar noted, adding that it includes the shoulder season as well. “We will get it from a rental company. It will not be a little tent. It definitely will have room to spread out.”

The OCFPL Board of Trustees met Monday and discussed the purchase of the tent. The funds will come from the library and the city approved the plan.

Mahar said it will give library guests the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors while spending time among other patrons.

There, the guests may savor the warm breezes outside of the Community Center, while listening to music, reading or participating in one of the many popular virtual programs offered by the library.

“The virtual programming has been very successful. We have had people inquire about whether it will still be offered when things open up,” Mahar said. “We’d like to still offer it then.”

The library provides all the safety requirements amid the pandemic.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Mahar said it is a way for people to socially distance while still being together, but outside.

“We wanted to do something that makes it feel more normal, and outside seems to be the best bet right now,” she noted. “Hopefully, in the fall we could get back to more programming inside.”

The library is open and the hours have been extended to hours close to those pre-COVID-19.

But there are still limitations due to the pandemic and health and safety guidelines inside the building, including no in-person programming.

Curbside pickup continues to be offered.

There are some plans that should delight library patrons for the tented area.

“This will allow us to do some things. We have some programs planned by our Children’s Librarian, Young Adult and Adult Librarian,” Mahar noted.

In addition, Mahar said that the library will offer use of the area to the city entities within the Community Center such as the Arts Center, the Historical Museum and the Aquatic and Fitness Center.

Also, the Friends and Volunteers of the OCFPL may do some book sales utilizing the tent.

“We are really excited about it,” Mahar said.

The library is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information about the library, to sign up for virtual programming and other information, visit oceancitylibrary.org.

Curbside pickup will continue.