WILDWOOD CREST - Residents of Five Mile Beach can learn more about plans for the island's new library branch at a meeting scheduled for May 16.

In August 2011, Cape May County purchased the former Masonic Lodge building at 6300 Atlantic Ave. for $1 million with plans to turn the building into the county library system's newest branch.

The Atlantic Avenue property is about 8,000 square feet. Once it is renovated, it will take the place of the library branch at 6301 Ocean Ave.

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The public meeting at 7 p.m. May 16 at the Wildwoods Convention Center will feature an update on plans to turn the former lodge into an up-to-date library, replacing the current 5,808-square-foot space.

County Library Director Deborah Poillon has said the interior of the lodge property needed to be gutted and required a new heating and air-conditioning system, among other renovations.

The county, which has a renovation budget of about $1.6 million, has said the new branch could be open at the end of this year or sometime in 2014.

Local residents and the borough formed a library committee to advise the county of residents' needs or suggestions related to the new building.

Suggestions have included having more books and periodicals, and additional computer space.

Borough officials said the plan so far is to expand the site into a 10,000-square foot, 1½-story library with expanded book, DVD and audio collections, rooms for computers, a study room and a small meeting room on the first floor. The second floor will include a large room available for meetings and educational events as well as an outdoor deck and an enclosed reading area that will provide views of the ocean and the facility's planned environmentally friendly roof.

Representatives from the library's architectural firm Buell, Kratzer and Powell will at the May 16 presentation.

Meanwhile, Borough Administrator/Clerk Kevin Yecco said Tuesday that Borough Commission has considered moving the town's historical society from its current home at the Crest Pier to the old library building once the library move is made.

Those discussions included the possibility of moving a tourism center into the old building.

A private trust started the library with the county taking over the library's operations in 2003, but it sits on borough land.

Yecco said some residents have suggested the borough sell the beachfront library.

Contact Trudi Gilfillian:


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