Anniversary gala shines the spotlight on Selbyville Library

Dim the lights and get dolled up for the 30th Anniversary Gala of the Friends of the Selbyville Public Library. The Friends will bring the party on Thursday, April 30, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Cove Bar & Grille at Bayside.

“We started in April of 1985. It’s our 30th anniversary of being around and helping the library,” said David Nilsson, Friends president.

The public is being invited to enjoy hors d’oeuvres, live music, a full buffet, silent auction and cash bar. This month’s party is the jumping-off point for Selbyville’s future. Proceeds will fund children’s programs, technology upgrades and future expansion of Selbyville Public Library.

“New developments are mushrooming up all over,” Nilsson said. “The library’s got a challenge in front of it, to not only meet the needs of those that are using it now but the needs 10, 20 years into the future.”

The first library opened in a borrowed room in 1932. Although it grew, the free library didn’t get its own space until U.S. Sen. John G. Townsend Jr. died in 1964. Townsend’s family donated the entire house to serve as Selbyville’s library.

“It’s a wonderful town asset. It’s an historic structure,” Nilsson said. “But like any other hundred-year-old building, it needs a lot of care and love.

“The population has grown, and the needs have grown to the point where the physical facility” is not keeping up, Nilsson said.

First, the building will undergo a needs assessment study “by a professional who gleans … what the future needs of the community are, what the library currently has, and can we do what we want — and what we need — with what we have?”

That’s a long, expensive process to get a good read on the library’s future.

Is there enough room to build more? Should the library brainstorm a new facility altogether?

“There’s great sentiment in town to continue using the current location and structure as best we can,” Nilsson said. “We want to do everything we can do to stay there.”

“It should be a fun evening,” said Nilsson. “It helps support the library and its programs. That’s what the Friends do. Unlike other libraries, we support 100 percent all of the programming here in Selbyville.” (Some of the area’s libraries are at least partly County-funded, while others — including Selbyville and Frankford — are reliant on Friends groups and other donations for all of their funding. “That allows the library to commit its resources to other places.”

Selbyville has an active children’s program, from preschool events to summer reading, a huge after-school population and more.

“We’re glad to have friends like that,” said Library Director Kelly Kline, who was looking forward to a fun gala. “Also, people might learn a little bit more about what the library does, or what the Friends do. I look forward to … getting to know the people who support the Friends of the library.”

Gala tickets cost $65 per person and can be purchased at the Selbyville Public Library on Main Street in Selbyville. They won’t be sold at the door. Call the library at (302) 436-8195 for more information. The Friends is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, so donations are appreciated, even if people cannot attend the gala. Learn more at