Baltimore County Libraries Serve Communities

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.