As reported in the Baltimore Sun, Baltimore County is transforming its libraries to make use of new technologies and respond to community interests. One addition is called Storyville, a “magical town” for children aged 0-5. Storyville is only one example of the library system’s evolution over the last several years, however, others include:
- a rapidly expanding electronic data base, coupled with shrinking reference sections of printed materials;
- access to 67,000 e-books and 22,000 audiobooks, and soaring interest in those resources (the number of e-books checked out last year nearly tripled over the previous year, although that was only 2 percent of all items borrowed);
- Zinio, a distribution service for digital magazines added this year, that allows library users to electronically access about 100 magazines;
- an enhanced summer reading program that this year served more than 50,000 children, a record high;
- free customer access to 443 personal computers — including 70 at the county’s newest and largest branch in Owings Mills — which combined attracted more than one million users last year.
Baltimore County is also embracing the library’s function as a meeting place for residents.
The Owings Mills branch, which opened in March, caters to that philosophy: It has an array of meeting rooms and study areas, including a large community meeting room that can be divided into three areas and another large study area on the third floor. It also has a café.
In the words of James Fish, director of the Baltimore County Library,
“We try to be responsive to the public. To be worthy of being a public library, you have to evolve.”
For more information, see the full story from the Sun.