CHESTERTOWN, MD—Washington College will officially rededicate its newly renovated Clifton M. Miller Library at a Grand Opening on Friday, Nov. 9, showing off the just-completed $8 million makeover. The ribbon-cutting ceremony is slated to begin at 4:30 p.m., and the public is welcome.
The library reopened its doors in mid-October while some final construction, most notably completion of a new café, was still underway. Library director Ruth Shoge says it was both a thrill and a relief to welcome students back to the fresh, redesigned space after two months of providing services in temporary locations around campus. “We can now serve our students and community members in a library that is not only functional and efficient but also inviting and comfortable,” she says. “The students are absolutely delighted to be back in the building. They especially love the new study spaces on the second floor, and they are certainly looking forward to the café opening for business.”
Many of the major improvements to the library are essential infrastructure upgrades that are mostly hidden from the eye, including a new geothermal system for climate control, a new roof and storm water drainage system, an improved network for wireless internet connectivity, and new plumbing and electrical systems. New ceilings and flooring were installed throughout the building.
Among the changes visitors will notice right away is that brand new café—a first-floor space with a wall of glass that looks out onto the building’s terrace. On the second floor, the biggest visible changes are the new study areas, including contemporary lounge-like spaces for individual study and enclosed rooms for collaborative projects and group study.
The enhancements also include an expanded Washington College Archives, with a new researcher’s room. The Archives area will be dedicated to the memory of Benjamin G. Kohl, an Italian Renaissance scholar who served as a trustee of the College and actively supported the Library up until his death in 2010.
During the second phase of the construction, the library stored books and documents in the former Board of Education building across Washington Avenue from the campus. A special annex in that building will continue to house back issues of some journals, magazines, and government documents.
The Grand Opening will include a special display of books by Washington College faculty members that have been published in the past three years. In addition, two portraits will be officially unveiled: one of former College president Charles John Merdinger, who served from 1970 to 1973, and the other of College benefactor Duncan Miller, the son of the library’s namesake.
Fittingly, the painting of Duncan Miller, who was a retired investment advisor at the time of his death in 2010, will be installed near that of his father, Clifton M. Miller, an investment banker who led the college’s Board of Visitors and Governors in the mid-sixties and oversaw a campus expansion that included the construction of the library that would one day bear his name.