The first libraries in Maryland were organized by Thomas Bray (1656-1730) in 1695 as parochial libraries for the Anglican Church; laymen's libraries intended as lending libraries for the public at large; and noncirculating libraries.
In 1902, the State Library Commission was authorized to develop public libraries throughout Maryland (Chapter 47, Acts of 1902). The Commission's responsibilities were assigned to the Office of Public Libraries under the State Board of Education in 1935.
The first bookmobile in the nation started in 1905 as a horse-drawn wagon in Washington County, Maryland.
Brooklyn Park Community Library, Anne Arundel County Department of Libraries, 1 East 11th Ave., Brooklyn Park, Maryland, August 2010. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
Later, the Division of Library Services of the State Department of Education oversaw public libraries in Maryland. Today that responsibility falls to the Maryland State Library Agency.
In Maryland are twenty-four public library systems, one in each county and Baltimore City, with a combined collection of 15.1 million items in Fiscal Year 2016. Maryland's public libraries, in Fiscal Year 2016, had 3,358 paid employees. In FY2016, some 19 bookmobiles served the State.
Bowie Branch Library, Prince George's County Memorial Library System, 15210 Annapolis Road, Bowie, Maryland, September 2017. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
Maryland residents may register with and borrow materials from any public library in the State. Also, information and materials found through the Maryland State Library Network may be mailed, trucked, or transferred electronically to a local library.
In FY2017, 3.6 million Marylanders, about 59%, held library cards. The public checked out approximately 57 million items in FY2017.
Lewis J. Orts Library, Frostburg State University, Frostburg, Maryland, October 2014. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
Increasingly, electronic access to catalogs and the Internet has made computers an integral part of Maryland library systems. Wireless access is available at every public library branch throughout the State. Patrons may identify and locate library materials by searching catalogs linked to Sailor, an online public information network. Sailor connects Marylanders and their libraries to resources within the State and worldwide, providing access to the Internet and to e-mail. Sailor is available free through every public library, and via modem-equipped computers from homes, schools, and offices. At 190 branches, some 5,200 internet terminals were available in FY2017.
Light Street Branch, Enoch Pratt Free Library, 1251 Light St., Baltimore, Maryland, June 2006. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
In Baltimore, the Enoch Pratt Free Library opened in January 1886. It was a gift to the City from Enoch Pratt (1808-1896), a remarkable businessman and philanthropist.
Based at the Enoch Pratt Free Library, the Maryland State Library Network serves more than 400 libraries throughout the State, primarily through interlibrary loan of materials and information.
Enoch Pratt Free Library, 400 Cathedral St., Baltimore, Maryland, October 2007. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
The Maryland State Library Network consists of the State Library Resource Center (Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore); 3 regional library resource centers (Eastern Shore, Southern Maryland, Western Maryland); 4 academic libraries lending specialized materials; and more than 125 libraries that fill interlibrary loan requests from their collections.
Pocomoke City Branch, Worcester County Library, 301 Market St., Pocomoke City, Maryland, June 2018. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
As the regional depository for Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia, McKeldin Library at the University of Maryland, College Park, receives all U.S. government publications designated for deposit.
Library, Delaplaine Arts Center, 40 South Carroll St., Frederick, Maryland, August 2018. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
Libraries of Note: Enoch Pratt Free Library, The Johns Hopkins University Libraries (including the George Peabody Library), Maryland State Library for the Blind & Physically Handicapped, Space Telescope Science Institute Library (NASA), Health Sciences & Human Services Library, University of Maryland School of Medicine, and Thurgood Marshall Law Library, University of Maryland School of Law, Baltimore; State Law Library, and Nimitz Library of the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis; National Library of Medicine, Bethesda; University System of Maryland Libraries; National Agricultural Library, Beltsville; National Institute of Standards and Technology Standards Research Library, Gaithersburg; National Criminal Justice Reference
Service of the National Institute of Justice, Rockville; Library of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Silver Spring; and U.S. Bureau of the Census Library, Suitland.
George Peabody Library, East Mount Vernon Place, Baltimore, Maryland, September 2010. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
Health Sciences & Human Services Library, University of Maryland School of Medicine, 601 West Lombard St., Baltimore, Maryland, December 2000. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
© Copyright May 09, 2019 Maryland State Archives