As part of an attempt to re-establish library services -- at least on a limited basis -- in areas that had lost them to budget cuts, Baltimore County announced the opening of Greenspring Community Reading Center last night.
The center is located inside the Atrium at Greenspring Shopping Center in the 2800 block of Smith Ave., on the site of the Wellwood library closed with eight others by former County Executive Roger B. Hayden to ease budgetary pressures in 1993. Officials said the center will open Tuesday.
The reading center is part of a pilot partnership program between the county and communities to restore some library services, officials said.
"The county provided a $100,000 grant for three years and the community has to match those funds," said Jay Doyle, a #F spokesman for County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger III. "The community can match those funds through fund raising or by providing volunteer staffing which would be an in-kind service."
"My philosophy for older communities is that government can't be all things for all people," Mr. Ruppersberger said. "If community and business don't pull together with us, it isn't going to work."
The Greenspring center will stock popular titles, talking books, children's books and large-type books. Fraeda Lewis, executive director of the reading center, said that of the $50,000 provided by the county this year, half would be used for buying books.
Mrs. Lewis said the center will be staffed by volunteers and is accepting donations of books and money. For a $20 donation, a book will be purchased and fitted with a book plate containing the name of the donor.
Mrs. Lewis' husband, Elliot Lewis, is president of the Smith-Greenspring Citizens Association, which fought to keep the former library open.
"We let it be known to the politicians how important having something like this was to the community," Mr. Lewis said. "It's only going to be successful if the community helps to make it successful."
Michael Brooks, one of the principals of Brooks and Goldman Realty, which manages the mall, said the county is being allowed to use the 2,127-square-foot suite for the center rent free -- a savings of about $40,000 a year -- but must pay about $1,000 a month to cover such expenses as maintenance and fire insurance.