The Perry Hall Branch of the Baltimore County Public Library is celebrating 50 years of service this month, and on Saturday the community was invited to join the party.
The branch has come a long way in those 50 years. From humble beginnings to its beautiful new building, the Perry Hall Library has expanded, evolved and improved with each passing year.
When the first official library in Perry Hall formally opened its doors at 9440 Belair Road in September of 1963, it was the culmination of years of preparation. Back in 1951, the Kingsville Homemakers' Club operated a community library for six hours a week. They planted the seed that took off and grew and by 1952, they were serving 157 customers and circulating 4000 books.
County library officials saw the need and responded by starting bookmobile service in the area. By 1962, the community had grown to the point that a citizen group began lobbying for a branch library. A new brick building was built and dedicated in September 1963 — complete with a dedication ceremony that included prominent guests including Congressman Clarence Long and Baltimore County Executive (and future vice-president) Spiro T. Agnew.
To commemorate the golden anniversary, Saturday's event at the Perry Hall Branch invited everyone to attend a day of fun activities for the whole family. The Friends of the Perry Hall Library, a volunteer group of library supporters, were on hand to welcome visitors and invite them to join their organization.
Friends who volunteered for the 50th celebration included Perry Hall residents Harry Quinn and Irene Butler, who said they enjoyed welcoming guests.
"The community really loves this library," Quinn said, "and the staff is excellent with people in the community and to work with".
The day's highlights included face painting with Annette Abramson, crafts donated by Lakeshore Learning, a performance by the Chapel Hill Elementary School Choir, and comments by BCPL Director Jim Fish, Councilman David Marks and Friends of the Perry Hall Library President Jaymee Farinacci. There was also Phinneas T. Waggs' One Man Show and Balloon Art with Tom Lilly.
Cindy Klebeck, manager of the Perry Hall library, has been in her position for just six months, but said she already feels the special bond between the community and its library.
"I love working here," she said. "The people are kind and welcoming, and it is great to be in this beautiful library."
Thrilled with Saturday's festivities, she added, "We've had a wonderful day celebrating this library and this community. We received citations from Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, Baltimore County Councilman David Marks, U.S. House of Representatives (member) John Sarbanes, Maryland State Sen. Kathy Klausmeier and District 11 state delegates from the Maryland General Assembly."
Perry Hall Branch is located at 9685 Honeygo Blvd in Perry Hall. Hours of operation are Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m. year round.