Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Nettie Barcroft Taylor


Nettie Barcroft Taylor was born in 1914 in Brownsville, Tennessee. She has resided in Maryland from 1948 to the present time. Ms. Taylor has spent the past 40 years of her life working to improve the quality of library service to the citizens of Maryland. She has been a driving force in establishing for Maryland one of the finest networks of public libraries in the nation.

Her success in part resulted from her early experience during World War II as an Army librarian and Command Librarian for the U.S. Army in Heidelberg, Germany. As a result of her work, each county in Maryland now has a library system connected to all other county library systems, through the sharing of books and memberships. Mobile libraries now service rural areas and disabled citizens. Finally, Maryland libraries have evolved into sophisticated media centers for community use.

All of these improvements have contributed to providing Marylanders with greater educational opportunities and cultural diversity. Year after year she lobbied legislators and governors for the funding needed to sustain public libraries. During the "Taylor era," per capita state and local support increased from 10 cents to $7.25. Her tireless efforts and tenacity changed Maryland's library system from a state with libraries scattered throughout to a state with a cooperative network of libraries. In addition, early in her career she realized the value technology would have on libraries and moved forward to apply that technology to library cataloguing through the use of the microfiche. Thus she paved the way for the modern library today, where computers guide patrons to books and information.

In 1959, Ms. Taylor served as Supervisor of Public Libraries for the State Department of Education. In 1960, in addition to serving as President of the Maryland Library Association, Ms. Taylor was named Assistant State Superintendent for Libraries and Chief, Division of Library Development and Services for the Maryland State Department of Education.

Throughout her notable career; Ms. Taylor has been recognized with numerous awards for her service to the profession. Among them are the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Library Council Outstanding Service Award, 1986; the American Library Association Joseph W Lippincott Award for Distinguished Service, 1984; the Maryland Educational Media Association, Honorary Membership, 1983, and the Maryland Library Association Distinguished Service Award, 1979.

Although Ms. Taylor retired in 1988, she continued to advocate for quality libraries through the Citizens for Maryland Libraries. Maryland citizens have benefited from Ms. Taylor's diligent pursuit of the statewide library network that now exists which allows patrons easy access to information and resources simply by visiting the nearest library.

View Maryland State Archives BiographyBack to Top