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.

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