Anchor in the Community: Point of Rocks Library Celebrates Fifteenth Year | Culture & Leisure


Edward F. Fry didn’t want to pick strawberries.

The sun was beating down on a fruit and vegetable farm near Dickerson on a summer day in the 1920s, when Fry, a young boy at the time, was reaping the fruits on the land.

However, instead of continuing his work, Edward suddenly had had enough. He stopped and jumped up the farm fence. The workers looked at him and shouted, “Come down, my boy, and help me pick strawberries!”

But Edward wouldn’t budge from his post.

The young boy took a deep breath and shouted defiantly, “I’m not picking any more strawberries!” I’m going up to Point of Rocks!

He then drove five miles into town, a place he cared about deeply. His grandmother, Sarah Elizabeth Fry, lived in Point of Rocks and he loved spending time with her.

After his mother died when Edward was still young, Sarah took care of him and raised him at Point of Rocks. His passion for the city was eternal, as was his passion for reading.

Growing up, Edward knocked on his neighbors’ doors and asked for books to read. He liked to spend his time getting lost in novels and had read all the books in town.

Growing up, Edward wanted children to have the ability to easily find books. It soon became his dream to establish a library to share his love for the written word with members of his beloved city.

The libraryWith its preserved brick exterior and sturdy white columns lining the entrance, the Edward F. Fry Memorial Library made Fry’s dream come true. Located in Point of Rocks, the scenic 1,500-square-foot Library is housed in the old Point of Rocks Elementary School building which opened in 1936.

Celebrating its 15th anniversary, the library has been a vital resource for Point of Rocks residents since its inception in September 2006.

The space consists of 5,000 titles carefully selected for this one-room library. In addition to titles from Fry’s personal collection, the library has 2,700 books for preschool and K-8 readers, 375 revolving titles from the McNaughton collection, a number of educational materials for patrons to browse and access to Internet stations.

A few months before the start of the pandemic, major renovations were carried out inside the building. However, due to closures over the following months, members of the public were unable to experience the newly renovated library directly after its completion.

As residents gradually return to community spaces, they can now see their beloved library in a whole new light. With the white lights reflecting off the polished hardwood floors and new furniture scattered throughout the space, the bookcase looks brand new.

The community

Although the library may be small, its impact goes far beyond the compact dimensions of the building. Community members of all ages can access a variety of books and educational tools. Residents can find books right here, instead of traveling 20 to 30 minutes to surrounding towns such as Urbana and Brunswick.

“It’s like an outpost in nature,” said Dara Marowitz, a Point of Rocks resident and former staff at Frederick County Public Libraries.

In addition to visiting the library in person, Marowitz uses the library’s online catalog to find and read books online. With over half a million books available online, residents can find almost any novel they like. If a book is not available for immediate pickup at the library, it can be sent to the library for the patron to pick up later, a feature that is useful for residents of small towns.

In this space, people count as much as the building. With the library providing resources and support to residents of Point of Rocks, this free knowledge space has in turn gained an active community support system. The Friends of the Edward F. Fry Library at Point of Rocks, formed a few months before the library opened, is a council that advocates for this vital resource in the community. The group organizes various activities and fundraisers to help support the city’s beloved library.

The building also serves as a community center, providing spaces outside of the library room for meetup groups, like the Ruritan Club and a traveling STEM lab. The Point of Rocks Community Park is also at the rear of the facility, providing outdoor space for visitors.

“A library of this size is so important to the community as an anchor,” said Frederick County Public Libraries Director James Kelly. “There aren’t a lot of spaces that people can go to that are open to everyone.”

A love storyBeyond the strong links with its community, the history of the library is a love story that transcends generations.

Gertrude Teresa Fry, known as “Trudy”, was an incredibly determined woman. She met Edward F. Fry in 1971 while working in Washington, DC, and the couple married in 1973.

Edward was Trudy’s greatest love – with Frank Sinatra.

“Frank was her first love,” laughed Edward Page, Edward F. Fry’s nephew. “He played in the White House, and she was in the center of the front row.”

Trudy was passionately in love with Edward. Throughout their lives, the couple have traveled the world on safaris and cruises. They have filled many photo albums of their adventures. However, even through all the trips, the two felt rooted in Point of Rocks and wanted to make a difference in the city.

Trudy understood her husband’s desire to establish the library so that the children in the community could share the love of reading, just as her husband did. She cared deeply about her dreams and the two created a trust fund to help finance the future library.

After the death of Edward F. Fry in 2004, Trudy took matters into his own hands and set out to create a library in honor of her husband. She would stop at nothing until her love’s dream came true.

“When she was passionate about something, nothing stopped her. Absolutely not stop it, ”said Trudy’s great-niece Sarah Moxley.

In the first months of 2006, Trudy called the then director of Frederick County Public Libraries, Darrell Batson, to explain his desire to establish a library in Point of Rocks on behalf of her husband. Trudy has made it a priority to make sure things go as they should.

“She was getting in her car into town and I was like, ‘Where are you going?’ And she was like, ‘I’m going to see Darrell Batson!’ Trudy’s nephew, Carroll Shry, remembers.

Through various meetings and phone calls, Trudy’s tenacity proved fruitful after the library officially opened later that year.

But through all the meetings, visits and phone calls, one thing has remained constant in Trudy’s efforts to create this library: the thought of her husband. And she was able to bring her dream to life before her death in 2019.

“One thing she told me before she passed away was that she never wanted to change the name of the library,” Moxley said. “I think she did all the hard work she put in to make it happen, but she still wanted it to be Ed’s – because it was her dream, not hers.”


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