Local Lifestyle, News

Morgan County Library promotes learning with programs, fun activities

by Kate Evans

In their 100th year of operations, the Morgan County Public Library in Berkeley Springs continues to instill a love of reading and learning in ages young, old and in-between.

The library offers a multitude of books, best sellers, E-books, audio books, music CDs and movies for personal enrichment and enjoyment.

Library patrons Nico Blanco (left) and Lorena Blanco and Victoria Blanco (on right) get ready to check out some books at the Morgan County Public Library with library employee Gerry Turner.

Year-round fun activities for children, teens and adults also keep library patrons engaged and coming back to explore new topics.  From decorating gingerbread houses at Christmastime and creating recycled art and adult and teen book clubs to creative movement, music programs, storytime and crafts for children, the library works constantly to connect with the community.


Sarah Drennan is the Morgan County Public library director and is in charge of adult services. Amy Bryan-Chapman is the library’s assistant director.  Jenny Ellis is their new children’s librarian.

Sarah Drennan & Jenny Ellis

Drennan has been with the Morgan County Public Library for eight years. She said that she first started at the library as a volunteer.  Drennan was a temporary children’s librarian, children’s librarian and temporary director before becoming library director.  Amy Bryan-Chapman has been assistant director for nearly six years.

Drennan said that Fridays are play day at the library.  It starts with the Creative Movements program for preschool children at the Ice House, then kids and parents come back to the library for storytime and a craft at 10:30 a.m.

Bubbles and Chalk is for younger kids, age three and. under.  If the weather is nice, they’ll have bubbles and chalk in the library courtyard.  If the weather is cold or rainy, there will be a special children’s activity inside like working with playdough in the children’s area. 

Once a month Tony M. Music leads his free Rock and Read Program at the Ice House, which includes music, movement and stories for preschoolers.

Sensory Saturdays on the third Saturday of the month offers quieter, gentler activities that are sensory friendly for children that need less overwhelming surroundings, Drennan said.  That happens from 9:00-12:30 p.m.  Some relaxing, calming movement and stretching will also be offered.

Because most parents work through the week and have no time then to get their kids to the library, Drennan said they are offering more programs on Saturday. On Saturdays, kids have more of an opportunity to partake in their programs.

Summer program

This summer the Morgan County Public Library has two programs for ages 6-12 (first-fifth grade) with a STEM focus (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), library director Sarah Drennan said.

In Nature Lab, kids will learn about nature and West Virginia by creating their own nature journal and through activities like drawing, sculpting, collecting and classifying.

In Maker Camp, children will learn to think and create like an inventor and explore a wide variety of inventions.  They’ll also make simple toys like kaleidoscopes.

Days and times vary for the programs.  Check the library website or call the library at 304-258-3350 for more information. Call to register your children for the summer program.

A teen book club will also be offered in June, July and August.

STEAM, American Doll kits

Drennan said that they offer STEAM kits (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) for kids that have various activities.

The library also has several American Doll kits, which are dolls representing different historic periods of time, Drennan said.  Each doll comes with a book about the doll’s life.  There’s Felicity-American Girl and the First Nation’s Doll portraying a girl from a tribe in the mid-west.

Drennan said it was a chance for girls to learn history and play with the dolls.  They have three American dolls circulating and more to come.  The dolls are very expensive.  They’ve asked people to donate money toward the dolls or to donate their own doll.


The library also provides needed services to the community. Staff can fax documents for patrons, scan to email and make copies.  They are also a notary public, but people must make an appointment for that.

Drennan said there are six public computers available for use.  A person doesn’t have to have a library account to use them.

The Morgan County Historical Society office is located in Morgan County Public Library.  It can be reached by calling the library at 304-258-3350 on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Drennan said that the library still has Fine Free Fridays.  Patrons can return overdue books then without charge.

Friends of the Library

Drennan said that they currently have around 15 Friends of the Library.  Most are active and assist with porch sales of library books, volunteer at the library or help with special events.

Some come in weekly or are assigned a special day and time.  Others have specific tasks or do what needs to be done like shelving or pulling books, overseeing the computer area or working on displays or crafts for kids, Drennan said.

Patrons can always browse and buy books from the library porch sales that the Friends of the Library oversee.  Books include old favorites, new books, DVDs, children’s books and many other categories of interest-all reasonably priced.

Adult book club

The Morgan County Public Library’s adult book club meets once a month on the second Wednesday of each month.  The club reads a variety of fiction and non-fiction books supplied by the West Virginia Library Commission. Contact Drennan for more information.


The Morgan County Commission gives the Morgan County Public Library $23,000 a year and they get around $57,000 from the state, which pays for four library employees.

The $27,000 in special levy funding that they receive from Morgan County Schools “makes such a difference,” Drennan said.  It helps them buy more books and provides little extras. The library also receives gifts and donations.

The Morgan County Public Library also has expenses such as the electric bill, insurance, elevator maintenance, alarm maintenance and basic bills, Drennan noted.  Licensing to be a state library is $100 a year.

New heat pumps and air conditioning were put in, but they need to maintain it, said Library Trustees president Connie Perry.

Facility needs

Drennan said that the building needs a new roof and gutters.  They’d also like to replace the carpet with luxury vinyl flooring, which is easier to clean.  Some window sills are also starting to rot out and need replaced.

Drennan said those are big ticket items and that they’re planning on a library fundraiser for the 100th anniversary of the library’s opening and the 25th anniversary of being at the Johnson House. No date has been set for the events yet.

Library hours

The Morgan County Public Library is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9:00-6:00 p.m. and Saturday from 9:00-1:00 p.m.  For more information, call 304-258-3350.