New Castle County Executive Matthew Meyer yesterday announced that a new state-of-the-art library will be constructed in downtown Middletown. County officials have for two decades acknowledged the need for library investment south of the C&D Canal. This projects aims to fill that need.
“We have listened to the people and are increasing county service south of the C&D canal, in collaboration with the state and town of Middletown government,” Meyer said. “This library, to be located at the community’s preferred site, will be a community gem and a source of literacy and education for generations to come.”
The new library will be more than twice the size of the Appoquinimink Library, which has outgrown its temporary home in rented office space in Middletown. It will be designed to better meet community needs, with additional gathering and programming spaces that employ the latest technology to promote literacy, learning and collaboration.
After evaluating a number of sites and hearing strong sentiment from current library users that they would like the library to remain in the town of Middletown, where a library has been located since 1901, a portion of the Promenade property at the corner of Route 299 and S. Catherine Street has been selected as the site for the new library. This site meets key selection criteria, including:
- High visibility in central or prominent location
- Ease of accessibility, including multiple points of access for those walking, cycling, driving or taking mass transit
- Proximity to residential areas, schools, and recreational and play areas
- Site size to afford adequate parking and allow for future expansion
- Land characteristics favorable for development
Administration officials have signed a letter of intent to purchase approximately eight acres of land for the project, and approval from County Council will now be sought to complete the purchase. Next, an architect will be selected through an open bid to begin the process of designing the library. A public meeting will be scheduled for early 2019 to inform that effort by gathering input from residents about interior amenities, programming space and architectural features.
“Libraries are a reflection of community growth and development, and it’s wonderful that this library will soon have a new home to support the continued growth of this thriving community and as well as the future evolution of library services,” said Delaware State Librarian Dr. Annie Norman. “Thank you to the many officials, Friends of the Library members and other supporters who are working to keep libraries in the forefront as a priority.”