Baltimore County News
County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and BCPL Director Paula Miller celebrate with community
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and Baltimore County Public Library Director Paula Miller celebrated the start of major renovations of the Randallstown Library Branch with elected officials and local business and community leaders this morning. They shared details of the $1.1 million project to completely renovate this popular library branch with an interior redesign and technology upgrades by this summer. During construction, the BCPL Bookmobile will be in the library parking lot every Friday from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.
“It will be like a brand new library with exciting new technology enhancements, an expanded collection of books and audio-visual materials, and a comfortable modern setting for people to take advantage of all of the resources the library has to offer,” said Kamenetz. “It’s going to be like Barnes and Noble meets the Apple Store!”
The renovated branch will feature an attractive modern design with more than 30 public computers, free WiFi, laptop bars with charging stations, a large meeting room, an enclosed children’s area, an enclosed teen space, a bigger collection of print and audio-visual library materials, three study rooms, a quiet reading room, self-service checkout stations and digital media displays, new shelving, spacious and comfortable new seating, single use and collaborative workspaces, updated public restrooms, and BCPL's newest Center of Excellence — CoLab, a computer/technology/maker hub to bring the community together to create, collaborate and learn.
“The Randallstown Branch is a busy library, especially in terms of providing technology access, and it serves as a real community anchor for residents,” said BCPL director Paula Miller. “Beyond books and electronic resources, this renovation will enable us to provide experiences and user-friendly spaces that make a positive difference in the lives of our customers.”
“Libraries are a very important community resource for all County residents and I am very excited about this upgrading of the Randallstown library, and I can’t wait for the new state of the art facility to open this summer,” said 4th District County Councilman Julian Jones.
The project is funded through Baltimore County’s capital budget in conjunction with a $170,000 grant from the Maryland State Department of Education’s Division of Library Development and Services. The library branch is scheduled to reopen this summer. Updates and progress photos will be posted periodically on the branch page of the BCPL website, at http://www.bcpl.info/hours-locations/randallstown.
E-devices now available for library patrons to use in branches and borrow
Baltimore County Public Library (BCPL) is starting off the new year with new technology in its collection for loan and in-branch usage, thanks to funding from Baltimore County Government. The new items, which include Playaway Locks, Chromebooks, GoChips and mobile training labs, will be available at all of BCPL’s 19 branches.
While all BCPL locations have public computers, adding these take-home devices to the collection allows Baltimore County residents the flexibility to advance their technical skills and overall digital literacy as their schedule permits.
“The availability of these devices provides tools for every citizen in Baltimore County to have access to acquire the skills and resources needed for success," said BCPL Director Paula Miller. "Access to these devices will help to lessen the ‘digital divide’ by providing equal access to those that may not have the opportunity to learn and experiment with technology.”
“We initiated this new tech option in our libraries because adding these e-devices allows County residents to access the latest technology, be more computer-literate, and learn the technical skills that are so vital now in our workplaces and global economy,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.
Beginning today, BCPL’s 19 branches have the following:
- 210 Playaway Locks (e-readers) loaded with five books on each one. The Playaway Locks float (like all the other materials at the library) – which means it is shelved wherever it is returned by customers. Customers are able to request from one branch to another for pickup. Loan period is three weeks. http://playaway.com/lock/
- 380 Chromebooks with equal distribution to each of the 19 branches (20 at each branch). This is similar to a laptop and provides an opportunity for people to access the internet. Also, customers are able to request from one branch to another for pickup. Loan period is seven days. Chromebooks come preloaded with a variety of apps. https://www.google.com/chromebook/
- Two Mobile Training Labs each complete with 20 student and one (1) instructor laptop per lab. Each lab is a set of 20 laptops to float between branches for staff and customer training via programming.
- Available in early 2017: GoChips, a portable device preloaded with video content of movies or television series that can be connected wirelessly to a smartphone, tablet or computer without managing storage, internet streaming or data charges. Quantity and loan period TBD. https://gochip.com/
This purchase was made possible by Baltimore County Government as part of a budget initiative of County Executive Kamenetz. The FY17 budget included $500,000 in the Office of Information Technology’s Enhanced Productivity Thru Technology capital project. More information is available on BCPL technology at http://bcpl.info/technology
Baltimore County Public Library (BCPL) has served the citizens of Baltimore County since 1948. With 19 branches throughout Baltimore County, BCPL empowers and engages individuals for a more inclusive and connected Baltimore County community, and provides opportunities to explore, learn, create and connect. In addition to loaning books, library card holders may borrow DVDs, music, ebooks and gain access to our research databases. Branches provide computer and internet access, job search assistance and offer a multitude of daily learning programs for adults and children. For more information about branches and services, visit bcpl.info or follow BCPL on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
County’s IT group has won 25 awards this year alone!
The Office of Information Technology (OIT) has been recognized for multiple projects by national marketing and communications professionals. They were awarded six gold awards and four honorable mentions in the 2016 MarCom Awards competition for their outstanding work for the Baltimore County Public Library Annual Report microsite, the Web Writing and Design Style Guide, the Baltimore County Government Global Navigation Redesign and Responsive Design project, and the Baltimore County Government Open Data project.
This global competition honors individuals and groups who have made superior contributions to the concept, writing and design of print, visual, audio, and web marketing materials and programs. The MarCom Awards strive to recognize creativity, hard work, and generosity of marketing and communications professionals.
The MarCom Awards are administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals. This international organization consists of several thousand marketing, communication, advertising, public relations, media production and freelance professionals.
The County continues to be recognized in their pursuit of excellence. With this most recent recognition from the MarCom Awards, the County has now been honored with a total of 25 information technology awards so far this year.
“Congratulations to our entire information technology team for this recognition of their outstanding skills and dedication to continuously improving the way that we engage the public and communicate about County services,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.