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For Immediate Release: Saturday, April 14, 2018

Hundreds of residents turned out today to celebrate the renaming and grand reopening of the newly refreshed Montgomery County Public Libraries’ Connie Morella Library, formerly called the Bethesda Library. The library is located at 7400 Arlington Road.

The facility is renamed to honor Connie Morella who served Montgomery County

in the Maryland General Assembly from 1979 to 1986 and represented Montgomery County and Maryland’s 8th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives from 1987 to 2003. Following her congressional service, Morella was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as Ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development from 2003 until 2007. Morella is a founding member of the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame and served as second President of the Montgomery County Commission for Women.

Joining Leggett, Riemer and Morella at the ceremony were U.S. Rep. Jamie B. Raskin; Director of Department of General Services David Dise; Acting Director of Montgomery County Public Libraries Anita Vassallo; Director of Montgomery County’s Office of Community Partnerships Bruce Adams; Friends of the Library, Bethesda Chapter, President Joan Greenbaum; Connie Morella Library Manager Nancy Benner and community members. 

Cokie Roberts, a journalist, author and friend of Morella, provided remarks.

Morella and her husband Tony moved to Montgomery County after she graduated from Boston University. They raised their three children, along with six children they adopted when her sister died from cancer. She worked as a teacher in Montgomery County Public Schools and then as a professor at Montgomery College.

“Connie epitomizes our ideal of a political leader, an independent-minded elected official willing to stand on principle,” said County Executive Ike Leggett. “As a teacher and as a professor of English at Montgomery College, Connie’s passion for learning, language, and literacy match the vision of the Montgomery County Public Libraries as open, inviting gateways to information, ideas, and enrichment.”

"Ambassador Morella is so deserving of this great honor,” said Riemer. “I am thrilled not only for her but for the Bethesda community. She has been a champion for equal rights for women, children and families; and advocated strongly for human rights around the world. Being celebrated for her legislative and personal skills through the naming of this newly refreshed library for which so many residents will benefit is a fitting tribute to her many years of public service.”

“The library is free—not confined by any political climate," said Morella. It is the most democratic of institutions: where ideas are born and history comes to life. I am deeply moved and humbled by this honor.”

The refresh for the library includes new sit-stand circulation, information, and self-checkout desks; renovation of the public restrooms; new roof, painting and flooring; two new collaboration spaces; upgraded-lighting with improved energy-efficient and brighter LED lamps; outside enhancements which include book drops, bike racks, additional new furniture; motorized window shades, and many other enhancements.

Enhanced interior and exterior updates, including upgraded walkways and entrances that improved accessibility for people with disabilities.

The approximate cost for the Connie Morella Library refresh project is $ 3.175 million. Under the management of the Department of General Services, Keller Brothers served as the general contractor, and OKKS Studios, a subsidiary of Delta Engineers, performed the design services.

Partial funding for the project was provided by the County Library Capital Grant Program, Maryland State Library, as authorized by the Maryland General Assembly and supported by the Montgomery County Delegation.

The library opened immediately following the ceremony. For more information about the refresh, go to DGS website. For more information about the library, including hours of operation and upcoming events, visit the Connie Morella Library branch website.


Release ID: 18-515
Media Contact: Judy Stiles 240-777-6536