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Ocracoke Library moves to new temporary home

Ocracoke Island’s public library has moved to Deepwater Theater for the summer months.

This temporary home is made possible by a partnership between BHM Regional Library, Ocracoke Friends of the Library and Ocracoke Alive.

The temporary library opened on July 1. Deepwater Theater is located at 84 School Road, just past Books to Be Red and across from the Methodist Church. The temporary library will be open weekdays 1-5 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m.-1 p.m. The library will practice COVID-19 prevention protocols, only allow five patrons at a time inside Deepwater and will limit patrons to 30 minutes per day.

The library offers wi-fi, laptops, a printer/scanner/copier, Ocracoke-themed reference books and used books for visitors. BHM library cardholders can check out books and DVDs. Monetary donations for used books support Ocracoke Friends of the Library, which is funding the temporary library location with help from a grant from Ocracoke Occupancy Tax Board.

The annual Summer Reading Program theme is “Imagine Your Story.” Activities will include online story times and programs, book grab-bags and craft kits for kids of all ages. Visiting families are welcome to pick up Summer Reading Program activities.

Ocracoke Alive, the arts-based community non-profit that manages Deepwater Theater, offered the newly-renovated temporary space to the library. Due to COVID-19, Ocracoke Alive won’t be hosting indoor shows this summer. While planning for some outdoor performances in the neighborhood, Ocracoke Alive saw an opportunity to help out the Ocracoke Library through the end of August.

The Ocracoke Library at 225 Back Road was among the hundreds of structures that flooded during Hurricane Dorian last September. The library building is a shared school and community resource and is located on the Ocracoke School campus. Ocracoke Library is one of eight branches in the BHM Regional Library system.

School officials have plans to elevate the library building, repair the storm damage and restore the library space. “The work will begin this summer, with high hopes to have it finished for the new school year,” stated a press release. “The building will also be a temporary location for some school offices until school repairs are completed. An expansion of the library, funded by Ocracoke Friends of the Library, is also in the planning stages.”

In October 2019, the library found a temporary home at the WOVV 90.1 community radio station studio lobby, also located on the school campus. “With the summer approaching and the need for social distancing due to COVID-19, the radio station needs their lobby area,” continued the release. “The library staff would like to thank WOVV for their eight months of generosity.”

The library has seen a tremendous amount of support after Dorian from its off-island friends, with donations large and small from individuals, schools, churches and organizations.

“We appreciate all the help we’ve received,” said Ocracoke branch manager Sundae Horn. “So many people have been generous with donations of money, new books and used books. We also love the Books to Be Red gift certificates, which help both the library and a local business. Thank you all for thinking of our little library in its time of need.”

“Most of the library’s collection, including used books, has been put into storage until the building is restored. Please refrain from bringing used book donations to the island this summer,” stated the release. “The library storage is full. The library will welcome your donations after renovations are complete.”

For more information, contact Horn at shorn@bhmlib.org or 252-921-0283.

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