Anne Arundel County Public Library officials said they were “disappointed and angered” Thursday night by the discovery that a sign installed for the new Annapolis branch misspelled the first name of Michael E. Busch, the late Maryland speaker of the house.
Library system leaders reluctantly agreed to name the $24 million library for Busch, who died in April 2019, after coming under pressure from public officials who wanted to honor one of the most powerful lawmakers ever elected from Anne Arundel County.
A stone sign on West Street installed Thursday both feature the name “Micheal Busch” and “Annapolis Library,” while the metal sign atop the library has unusual space.
Christine Feldmann, a spokeswoman for the library, said staff members discovered the mistake Thursday and a contractor covered up the sign a short time later. She was unsure of the cost, saying the contract was handled by the county.
“The misspelling was an error on the part of the manufacturer and we are working to get it fixed immediately,” Feldmann said. “We sincerely apologize to the Busch family for the mistake.”
The library worked with project architect WGM Architecture and Interiors of Annapolis to select the design for the sign in late January, Feldman said.
Feldman identified the manufacturer as KaRon Masonry of Laurel. The company could not be reached for comment.
Maryland Policy & Politics
The new Annapolis library was slated to open this month, but completion has been delayed until this summer. In-person library services have been closed across the county by the virus and social distancing restrictions in place since last month.
The closures will now extend until at least June 8, the library announced Thursday. Bookings of the library’s meeting rooms have been suspended indefinitely.
The library has increased virtual programs on its Facebook page and on Zoom, including daily live storytimes, STEM programming, movie discussion and open poetry mic nights. A fantasy and fairy-tale virtual trivia night is set for 7 p.m. Monday.
Since the libraries closed last month, the use of ebooks and audiobooks has increased more than 36% over the same time last year and the staff is adding new titles daily, library officials said in a statement released Thursday afternoon.
The dispute over naming the library for Busch simmered in private last year as state officials lobbied the board of trustees. It broke out into public view in December, when members complained they felt pressured to name the library for Busch.
Busch was Maryland’s longest-serving speaker of the House and a powerful advocate for the county. Opponents argued they could have raised an additional $3 million for the library through naming rights.
Unable to reach a decision, the board approved a statement giving the county final say to name the library after Busch, not the board. County Executive Steuart Pittman quickly announced plans to name the library after the Annapolis Democrat.
An early version of this story incorrectly described the problem with the metal sign atop the library. It includes incorrect spacing.