Carroll County commissioners approve transfer of funds for library makerspace project

The Carroll County Public Library received authorization to transfer its savings to its Exploration Commons at 50 East makerspace project.

Exploration Commons will be a community creativity center in the 14,000-square-foot basement of the Westminster branch of CCPL — comprising a makerspace, culinary center and meeting space where “ideas, and tools come together to create, innovate and collaborate,” according to its website.


CCPL Executive Director Lynn Wheeler said that by using less of its funds than expected, the library system was able to save money — about 2.9 percent of its $10.7 million operating budget for this year — and requested at the Nov. 8 meeting the savings be put toward the large project.

“[Our savings] was both generated from positive revenues and a cutback on expenditures,” Wheeler said, “so we did have that extra money. We would like now to ask to be able to recognize that additional $150,000 in our FY19 budget and to earmark that for the construction of Exploration Commons.”

Wheeler also said that CCPL just won a $75,000 grant from the Kahlert Foundation, and that it has been invited to apply again next year.

The fund transfer will — in addition to the Kahlert grant — help CCPL meet the match required for its state capital grant and reduce the loan amount CCPL will need to borrow from the county next year when construction begins, she said.

“Of course the county gave us a loan for that,” said Wheeler, “but we will have to pay interest for that, and this will decrease that. We are also still actively fundraising.”

Commissioner Richard Rothschild, R-District 4, asked if the change would affect the county budget in any way.

“Does this structurally change anything towards our contribution to the buildout?” he asked.

“It has no impact on our budget at all,” Carroll County Director of Management and Budget Ted Zaleski said at the meeting. “The only implication for us is it would be less money they might be looking to borrow from us.”