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The Triumphant Grand Opening of the New Hyattsville Library

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Posted on: April 12, 2022

By A.R. Cabral

The rain had just cleared up as crowds of residents, community leaders and eager children began filling the lobby of the new Hyattsville Branch Library on Wednesday morning, March 30.

Crowds gather for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the new Hyattsville Branch Public Library on March 30 (A.R. Cabral)

Located where the previous building was, at 6530 Adelphi Rd., spectators gathered to see the jubilant ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System’s (PGMLS) latest library building.

“The Hyattsville Branch Library is a beautiful, open building that reflects the spirit and diversity of the Hyattsville community,” said Roberta Phillips, Chief Executive Officer of the PGCMLS, in a press release.

Toni A. Smith, president of the Prince George’s County Memorial Library Service Board of Library Trustees, spoke at the opening ceremony for the new library (A.R. Cabral)

Among the distinguished guests at the ceremony included: County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks, County Councilmember Deni L. Taveras and interim Mayor Robert Croslin.

 

The ceremony began with a land acknowledgment by Rico Newman, a member of the Elders Council of the Choptico Band of Piscataway Indians.

Exciting, modern light fixtures filled the new building’s interior as natural light poured in from the surrounding windows.

“The original Hyattsville library was constructed as a state-of-the-art facility, for its time,” County Executive Alsobrooks said. “This replacement branch would have to match the innovation standards and this very community has made it known what is important to them.”

Local leaders and library officials joined in cutting the ribbon of the new library building (A.R. Cabral)

The new library features plenty of fresh installments including 2 meeting rooms, an art room, 8 study rooms, a conference room and a reading terrace overlooking an outdoor, astrological mosaic done by Mount Rainier artist, Valerie Theberge.

Meanwhile, inside, “Connecting the Faces of History,” a mural by Curtis Woody, an artist from Upper Marlboro, adorns the lobby of the building.

These fresh features compliment a landmark in Hyattsville, the iconic flying saucer, preserved from the old building at the request of the local community.

The new library features 84 public computers and a two-sided fireplace for its patrons to enjoy (A.R. Cabral)

The Prince George’s room, a room dedicated to the history and people of PG county, features comfortable reading chairs and a two-sided fireplace that patrons can enjoy from both inside and outside the room.

Councilmember Taveras went so far as to call the installation a “sexy fireplace,” during her speech in the opening ceremony.

Phillips said the library commits to cultural equity in her opening speech as proven by the robust bilingual signage and book selection prevalent throughout the library.

The newly finished library features 84 public computers, the most of any PGCMLS library to date, according to Alsobrooks, as well as access to plenty of digital resources for library members to enjoy.

“All the emphasis on tech and technology, the computers!” said Debbie Berlin, a resident. “I teach kids code and I’m excited that kids will get excited about technology here.”

The crown jewel of the new building is the children’s section, or as it is referred to as by librarians- “Discovery Village.”

The “Discovery Village,” the library’s children’s section, features a castle, a yellow brick road and the houses from the “Three Little Pids.” (A.R. Cabral)

The Discovery Village features many mainstays in classic children’s literature, brought to life in the library, like a yellow brick road, a castle, a knight’s armor and friendly tree with animals in its branches.

Athena T., a local 3-year-old resident, liked the brick house reading nook best during her visit, the other reading nooks are made to look like houses made of sticks and straw.

“I like the kid’s books,” said Roshan S., a proud 3-year-old, as he pointed to a book featuring a big yellow duck.

Michael Gannon, Chief Officer for Support Services with PGCML, said Discovery Village was planned from the beginning and is a great improvement from the previous children’s section in the old building.

“It’s like watching your child leave for school for the first time,” Gannon explained about seeing local residents finally fill the new public space whose opening has been delayed several times because of the pandemic.

“The library is extremely cool, really big and the child’s section is really big and cool. I like the [knight’s] armor and the house and the tree,” said Johannes T., 16-year-old resident.

The new library hosted a variety of events on its opening day including a 3D printer showcase, a Women’s History Month photobooth and a scavenger hunt, according to a press release.

“It is fabulous,” said Sistah Joy, poet laureate of PG county, “This is what a library is supposed to look like, supposed to do and supposed to be for the community. I just can’t wait to get online and share all the experiences— a fireplace?! Isn’t that awesome?”

One of the most anticipated events coming to the new library is the return of storytimes. More information about storytimes and other events happening can be found at https://www.pgcmls.info/Hyattsville.

 

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