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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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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

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 or follow BCPL on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

$3 Million Investment to Double Library Space, Enhance Service

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and Baltimore County Public Library Director Paula Miller announced today that the County will invest $3 million to renovate and expand the Hereford Branch of the Baltimore County Public Library (BCPL).

This project will increase the collection size, provide additional library amenities for children and adults, and double the amount of space devoted to library services for residents in the Hereford area and northern Baltimore County. A renovation of the property was originally scheduled for 2017, but the County accelerated this timeframe in the wake of a burst pipe that caused extensive flooding damage in late July.

“It is more fiscally responsible to proceed with the planned renovation as soon as possible, rather than investing in costly temporary repairs now and a full renovation later,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “This library is a very important resource for our County residents up north and this new and improved library will offer expanded service for everyone in the community sooner than anticipated.”  

“We are fortunate that Baltimore County is proceeding with the repair and renovation of the property at this critical time, and we are so excited to bring 21st century services and much-needed expanded library space to Hereford and northern Baltimore County,” Miller said.

Construction to Begin in Two Weeks

Construction is slated to begin the first week of October and be completed in the late spring of 2016. The remodeled library will encompass the entire building where the library is currently located, and will feature a complete interior demolition of both floors, a new roof, structural exterior stairwell and walkway repairs, plumbing and electrical system overhauls, a new elevator and stairwell between the floors, and new walls and ceilings. Patrons will enjoy an upgraded library experience with new shelving, flooring, furniture and a custom-designed floor plan to maximize access to library materials.

“This is great news for the citizens of Hereford and Northern Baltimore County. I want to thank County Executive Kamenetz for his continued commitment to the people of the Third District,” said 3rd District Councilman Wade Kach.

Maintaining Library Services

After the flooding damage occurred on July 26, the County provided limited library service by adding a bookmobile visit a few days a week. The library system is dedicated to having a continued presence in the community while construction is in progress. Beginning September 28, the bookmobile’s hours are as follows: Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday from Noon to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Staff and administration of the library wish to thank the residents of Hereford and surrounding communities for their patience and support, in the aftermath of the damage and closure. “We received some wonderful comments about how much residents value BCPL and the services provided,” said Miller.

Progress of the construction, updated details and information about the grand reopening as it becomes available can be found on the Hereford Branch page  page of the BCPL website.

Library officials are planning to attend the Hereford Fall Festival on October 17 and 18 to unveil more details about the renovation.

Revised September 26, 2016