Morehead City prepares to open new library facility to public, curbside service starts this week

A book drop box sits outside the new Morehead City Library, at 202 S. 8th St., which will open to the public soon. (Elise Clouser photo)

MOREHEAD CITY — Curbside service is slated to begin this week at the new Morehead City Library, with officials planning to open its doors to the public soon thereafter.  

The library is at 202 S. 8th St., inside the former Morehead City municipal building. Until the facility is ready to officially welcome patrons – likely within the month, according to public services director Daniel Williams – a drop box has been installed outside the building so people can return books or materials they may have.

The Morehead City Library is independent of the Carteret County Public Library system, which itself broke off from a larger tri-county system in 2020. The city’s collection was formerly housed in the Earle W. Webb Jr. memorial building at 812 Evans St. as the Webb Memorial Library and Civic Center.

Last May, the Morehead City Council voted to terminate the city’s lease with the Webb Family Trust, which owns the Webb building. Under an agreement made in 2006 that was supposed to last 99 years, the city used the building as a public library while paying for its operations and upkeep.

Council members and city officials at the time justified the ending of the lease by saying upkeep costs had become too expensive to maintain the building.

Except for a few items that were part of the Webb family’s private collection, Morehead City had purchased, using public funds, the library’s more than 18,000 items. The Webb trust owned most of the other materials inside the building, including shelving and furniture. 

At the recommendation of an ad hoc library committee formed to review the city’s options for a new home for the collection, the city council decided in October to move the library to the former municipal building. Until recently, the building had housed the city’s administrative offices and council chambers, but it was left vacant when the new city hall on Bridges Street opened last September and all government functions moved there.

Eventually, the Morehead City Library will share its space with the Morehead City Fire/EMS Museum, which is still in the early planning stages.

Morehead City has carried out a number of improvements to prepare the building for its new function, including fresh coats of paint and new carpeting and shelving throughout. An Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible ramp will be installed at the front entrance of the library, and new lettering will adorn the building’s façade to identify it.

 

Contact Elise Clouser at elise@thenewstimes.com; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.

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