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Closed for repairs, Govans Library finds temporary home at farmers market

The fast-growing Govanstowne Farmers Market includes an unlikely vendor these days — the Govans Library.

The 92-year-old branch, which closed June 28 for an estimated three to four months for roof repairs and other renovations, now is camped out at the weekly Wednesday market in a Loyola University Maryland parking lot on York Road.

There, branch manager Poonam Mukherjee and children's librarian Gloria Bartas staff two big tables under a tent, where they continue to run their summer reading program.

Enoch Pratt Free Library system officials say they hope to reopen the library, 5714 Bellona Ave., in October.

"In the meantime, we are here," said Mukherjee, wearing a blue floppy hat against the hot sun at the market.

Mukherjee also will work at the city's Southeast Anchor Library temporarily and Bartas will at the Orleans Street branch until the Govans branch reopens.

The closing of the Govans Library — and the overlapping closing of the Waverly Library in August for 18 months or more for major renovations — will leave the York Road corridor depleted of library branches.

Patrons of the two libraries will have to use the nearest branches, in Roland Park, Hampden and Northwood. The receiving libraries can handle the increase in usage temporarily, said library system spokesman Roswell Encina.

The Govans Library staff had to scramble to find accommodations at the market.

"We didn't know we were going to close that soon," Mukherjee said. "The contractor was ready to get started."

She is adjusting and also hopes to represent the library at community events.

A bookmobile also will be at the Toss restaurant parking lot across the street from the Govans Library on Fridays from 3-3:45 p.m. for book checkouts and returns, she said.

Children in the summer reading program and their parents stopped by the farmers' market all afternoon July 10, to tell librarians how many books they have read this summer.

They could also play Scrabble and make pinwheels at an arts and crafts exercise, although all other library programs have been canceled, Mukherjee said.

"We love Govans," said Erin Hans, of Lake Walker, who brought her daughter, Amelia, 8.

But it wasn't quite the same for Nicholas Petrik, also 8, who said he has read 66 books since June 1. The Homeland boy said he misses the library "a lot."

"I miss all of the books," he said.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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