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New library for southern New Castle County breaks ground amid pandemic

The Southern New Castle County Library ceremonially broke ground Thursday. 

State and County officials joined community members to celebrate construction starting on the $25 million library in the heart of Middletown. 

It will replace the old Appoquinimink Library, which community members say is too small, and will serve the Middletown-Odessa-Townsend area. 

County Councilman Dave Carter represents the area and says the groundbreaking is a sweet moment for the community. 

“Nowhere in New Castle County is it more important for us at this point in time to have a library,” he said at Thursday’s event. “We’re in a district and an area of the county that’s growing faster than any other area of the county and probably the state. We have a lot of new people coming in, and we don’t really have a lot of places for the new and the old can really congregate, can really meet in a neutral, trusted space to get to know each other.”

The library is expected to have dedicated child and teen areas, a multi-media production studio, a solar power array and electric vehicle charging stations— as well as meeting spaces and computers. 

Townsend resident Susan Kemer heads the Friends of the Appoquinimink Library group, which raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for furnishings in the new library. She says the current Appoquinimink Library is too small for the area’s growing population. 

“That 7,000 square foot library is like a little convenience store for the patrons,” said Kemer. “It really does not function the way the other libraries in New Castle County do, with the space, the materials.”

County libraries closed to the public this spring because of the pandemic, and began offering curbside pickup of books in June.

Construction is expected to be finished in 2022. 


Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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