Groundbreaking Ceremony at New Harrington Public Library

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Governor John Carney and elected officials were at the site of the new Harrington Public Library today for a groundbreaking ceremony. The $11.9M project is funded through a combination of state bond bill funds and federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. Currently, the Harrington Public Library is the only public library in the state not operating out of a purpose-built facility.

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HARRINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney and First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney today joined State Librarian, Dr. Annie Norman, Harrington Public Library Director, Marleena Scott, and elected officials for a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of the new Harrington Public Library.

Currently, the Harrington Public Library is the only public library in the state that doesn’t have a purpose-built facility. After construction is completed, they will finally have a space built specifically for library services.

The Harrington Public Library is one of nine libraries in Delaware to receive American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. The American Rescue Plan Act Capital Projects Fund, which was championed by Delaware’s Congressional Delegation – U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons, along with Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester – included $40 million in funding for library improvements throughout all three counties.

The projects within the Capital Projects Fund must meet strict criteria to be eligible for funding. That includes funding projects that specifically enable work, education, and health monitoring – and respond to issues created or exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For far too long the Harrington Public Library has been limited by their space. The children and families of the area will soon enjoy a new, purpose-built building,” said Governor Carney. “Delaware’s libraries serve our communities with resources, collaboration, and creativity. The last few years have reinforced the central role libraries play in our communities as hubs for job training, employment searches, and education. I’m glad that we can use these ARPA funds to invest in the communities that need it most. I want to thank the Congressional delegation and the General Assembly for their advocacy and look forward to attending the ribbon-cutting at this site in the future.”

“When we invest in our libraries, we are helping someone find a job, providing a safe place for the community to gather, and giving people access to resources that they wouldn’t normally have,” said Senator Tom Carper. “Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, Delaware’s libraries are helping educate and connect more people than ever, including right here in Harrington.” 

“Libraries have always been social and educational hubs for our communities, and the pandemic only reinforced just how much they ensure Delawareans of all stripes can access the tools needed for success in the 21st century,” said Senator Chris Coons. “Every corner of Delaware deserves a well-maintained library with the latest technology available, and I’m glad to see federal funding coming to the First State to invest in our library system.”

“Libraries provide so much to our communities – from books and internet access to employment services and health care,” said Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester. “That’s why I am so proud to have secured funding for our state’s libraries through the transformative American Rescue Plan Act – and am even prouder to see the impact of this funding already at work helping expand and develop these critical spaces for young people, students, families, and seniors across Delaware to continue utilizing.”

“Our families and children rely on our libraries for helpful information, books, and internet access, especially our young people as they enter the summer months,” said Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long. “These are the kinds of investments we need to create a cradle to grave support system for Delawareans’ social and emotional wellbeing, strengthening our communities and uplifting our quality of life.”

“Delaware’s libraries provide vital services to our communities,” said State Senator David Wilson. “The new Harrington Public Library will enhance and expand the already great level of service the current facility and staff provide.”

“Our state and communities benefit greatly by the wonderful public libraries here in Delaware,” said State Senator Dave Lawson. “Investing in libraries is important and I’m happy to see the Harrington Public Library is receiving this much needed new facility.”

“This is a great day for the citizens and families of Harrington,” said State Representative Shannon Morris. “The new, state-of-the-art facility will help serve our community in a way that is aimed at enhancing people’s overall quality of life. I am thrilled to see this project begin.”

“The Harrington Public Library is a priority on my Library Bucket List to achieve a professional library facility,” said Dr. Annie Norman, Delaware State Librarian. “Many thanks to Governor Carney, Secretary Jeffrey Bullock, and all the public officials who matched Bond Bill and ARPA funds to finally make this possible!”

“This long-awaited event will be a boon for Harrington and all the surrounding communities,” said Marleena Scott, Director of the Harrington Public Library. “We are so very grateful for all of the support that we have received and feel extremely blessed that we will be able to offer to our community a facility that is meant to be a library, and that can grow with future generations.”

The other Delaware Libraries receiving funding from ARPA are:

  • $7 million to the Selbyville Library for a new building
  • $750,000 to the Lewes Public Library for a new outdoor pavilion
  • $900,000 to the Milford Public Library for updates to HVAC, filtration, and ventilation
  • $250,000 to the Georgetown Public Library for updates to HVAC, filtration, and ventilation
  • $7.8 million to the Friends of Duck Creek Regional Library to build an expanded library
  • $11 million to the North Wilmington Library for a new building
  • $4 million to the Newark Public Library for a new building
  • $3 million to the Rehoboth Beach Public Library for upgrades
Harrington Library Groundbreaking

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