In Westminster library, families ring in the new year at noon

It may have been the earliest start for a New Year’s Eve party in Westminster as dozens of children and families packed into the activity room at the Westminster branch of the Carroll County Public Library Monday morning. Baskets filled with markers and crayons sat on tables crowded with little hands coloring activity sheets, parents wore New Year crowns and tiaras and a big screen, tuned to Netflix, stood at the ready.

“OK everyone, we’re going to start our countdown in about three minutes,” called Amy Meyers, a library associate in the branch’s children’s department. This was the fifth New Year’s at Noon for the Westminster branch, she later said in an interview.


“It’s been really good, it’s usually been this type of a turn out. The thought was, they’re not going to stay up ‘til midnight,” Meyers said. “Only three other branches in the system are doing any programming today.”

Kristen Akin, of Taneytown, and her children Luke, 4, and Ellie, 2, certainly appreciated the event.

“This is our first time. The Taneytown library didn’t have one, but we thought we’d come to this one today. It was very fun,” Akin said. “I know they have one in Port Discovery [in Baltimore] but it’s nice that they have one close by.”

Jeffrey Giles, of Westminster, brought his 2-year-old daughter Oakleigh to the library for the event, a first for her.

“We like to get her to interact with the other kids and get her to socialize,” he said. “She loves it, she loves all the activities. She is a people person.”

Like many of the children at the event, Oakleigh may not fully understand what New Year’s Eve is all about, Giles said, but she knows it’s a good time.

“I think she knows it’s a happy event, she understands that,” he said. “She’ll clap and dance — she loves to do that kind of stuff.”

After Meyers gave the three-minute warning, the crowd pressed into cluster at the center of the room beneath two tarpaulins suspend from the ceiling, which together cradled a mass of red, orange, yellow and blue balloons. A countdown began on the screen, the numbers flashing in colorful font, dissolving like fireworks.

“Three, two, one — Happy New Year!” the chant went up, as the clock struck noon. It was perfect timing for Giles, who expected Oakleigh would be well asleep before the true start to 2019.

“Then Mom and Dad and the rest of the family can step back and relax and enjoy the new year too,” he said.