CP Community Library Donation Day

Since we started spreading the word about the College Park Community Library, folks have been asking us when and how they can donate books.  Well, if you or someone you know has books to donate (all genres accepted), please note that we will be holding a “Donation Day” on Saturday, December 3, from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.

So, if you’ve got some gently used books scattered around your home and you’d like to donate them to the cause, get ’em in your car and drive ’em on over to the library, which is located at 9704 Rhode Island Avenue, College Park, MD 20740-1599.

Have books to donate but can’t make it on December 3? No problem, just drop us a line and we’ll come and get them.


If We Can Accomplish Half of this….

… then we’ll be doing something right!

Here’s a nice article about a library (that started off much like ours) in Port Washington, Wisconsin, that provides a hell of a lot more than books.

This is precisely what I would like to see our little library evolve into—a place that serves the community and becomes a central part of people’s lives, be it for books, computer access, or a friendly face.

A half-century of good reading (Ozaukee Press, November 9, 2011)

Libraries are no longer buildings lined with shelves of musty books where people are hushed if they speak up. Today, they are vibrant centers of the community, alive with programs that range from book clubs to recipe clubs. They are filled not only with books, magazines and newspapers, but also DVDs, CDs and books on tape.

People can also check the Internet and work on computer projects at the library.

“Libraries are still relevant — very much so.”

More Advances

Things keep rolling forward at the library. Even though “donation day” came and went, the donations keep coming (thanks!). Twelve boxes of books came in this week and more are expected soon.

Beyond that, we’ve obtained library system software that not only will make cataloging a breeze, but it will also enable us to know who has what where and when it’s due back — important stuff for a lending library like ours!

Next up, tackling our computer system and getting the network together (hence the photo). If you have any networking expertise and want to lend a hand, please drop me a line.

Finally, the good folks in the City’s Planning, Community and Economic Development Department mentioned the library in the latest edition of the College Park Business Beat.

The Progress Continues (Phase 2 begins)

Now that we’re finished painting, and in preparation for our book drive this Saturday (12/3 from 10 am to 1 pm), we moved on to phase two of the operation: taking books out of boxes and organizing them into groups by subject (philosophy, environment, etc…) or genre (fiction, how-to/instructional).

Two hours and 500-600 books later, we called it an evening. We’re getting there….


As word begins to spread about the library, folks have been e-mailing me with questions about how we plan to operate. So, in the interest of providing some general info about the library, here are some responses to “frequently asked questions.”  If you have additional questions that aren’t addressed here, just drop me a line and I’ll do my best to answer them.

What is the College Park Community Library?
The College Park Community Library (CPCL)—an all volunteer effort—is a lending library offering books and computer access to the public.

What is a community library?
A community library is just like any other  library except that it is:
* Staffed by volunteers
* Does not receive regular funding from state or county government.

Where is the library located? 
The library can be found in the basement of College Park’s Church of the Nazarene, which is located at 9704 Rhode Island Avenue, College Park, MD 20740-1599.

Is the library affiliated with the church?
No. The library is a separate entity. It is located within the Church of the Nazareen because the church was very supportive of what we wanted to do and was nice enought to give us  the spaceto do it.

When will the library be open?
Our goal is to have the library open for business by the close of January 2012. Our ability to attain that goal depends on how many volunteers we have and how many hours those volunteers are willing to devote to the library.

As for the library’s hours of operation, ideally, the library will be open afternoons and evenings, five to six days a week. To keep tabs on our progress, stay tuned to this website.

Does College Park need its own library?
That’s a good question and the answer is: it depends. If you like books and like to be around other people who like books, then another library certainly can’t hurt—especially if it brings people together and gets “neighbors” talking.

We know: there are three public libraries—Beltsville, Hyattsville, and Greenbelt—within driving distance of College Park. This is great and we should consider ourselves lucky to have these resources at our disposal. But for those folks who don’t have a car (or don’t want to have to get in their car to get something to read), a library that folks can bike or walk to—even a small one like ours—is an asset to the community.

What resources will the library offer?
Initially, the library will offer books on a variety of subjects for readers of all ages. It also will offer Internet-ready computers available for public use. As time goes on and we get a better handle on what users want and what we can (realistically) provide, we may add other materials, such as periodicals, CDs, and DVDs. Beyond media and its many formats, it is our hope that the library will become a space for discussions and study groups, workhops, readings, tutoring, and so on. In short, we want a place where members of the community can meet and exchange ideas.

Who can use the library?
Everyone. Our library will be open to all.

Who will be allowed to borrow books?
Although the policies governing the borrowing of books  have yet to be decided, it is likely that those who want to borrow books will have to register with CPCL (proof of address will be required) and pay a small member fee ($5–10), which will help us pay for material that is damaged, lost, or “walks” away.

NOTE: We want to hear from CP residents on this topic. Would be willing to pay an annual membership fee of $10? Is that too high? Too low? Send us your thoughts!

Are you still accepting donations?
Yes! If you have gently used books to donate to us (all genres accepted at this time), then contact us to arrange a drop off or pick-up.

How can I get Involved?
Want to lend a hand? Great! We have a tremendous need for volunteers.

In the short-term, we need volunteers to help us catalog our inventory, organize the books, setup our computer network, and formulate the policies that will goven library operations.

In the long-term, we’ll need volunteers to help us run and maintain the library (i.e., checking books in and out in accordance with CPCL policies, returning books to their  correct place on the shelves, answering visitor’s questions, and so on).

Get  in touch! Contact the CPCL at 301-910-2433.

This is what I want to see….

Since I started this library project, more than a few people have asked me about my motivations or, to put it bluntly, why I’m doing this. It’s a good question, and not just because the digital age is threatening to make the physical book a thing of the past.

The other day, when the intersection of Rt. 1 and Cherry Hill was closed and I found myself trapped in the car for more than an hour on the way home from work, I heard a story on NPR about the writer Ann Patchett, who is opening a bookstore in her hometown of Nashville, Tennessee.  As expected, one of the first questions asked of her was, “Why are you opening an independent bookstore similar stores across the country are going out of business.”

Among her answers were, “This is what I want to see in Nashville, and if I want to live in a city with a bookstore, then I’m willing to pay for it.”

I completely understand where she’s coming from, for, in the end, I have a similar reason for launching the library. When you get right down to it, I want to live in a town with a library–a place people can go to be around books and to be around other people who value books.

If you feel the same way, I invite you to join us in our efforts to bring the library to life.


Thanks to everyone who stopped by and donated some books to our Book drive last Saturday! Because of your generosity we now have an even wider array of books to share with our (future) patrons!

So just what will we have on our shelves?

Fiction (from classics to more contemporary fare, our fiction section will cater to readers from young adults to seniors.)
Literary Criticism (and other assorted books on books)
Religion & Spirituality
How-to/Instructional (from carpentry to writing and more!)
And more!