Baltimore County News
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.
Digital Counties Survey award considered a top measures of government technology performance
For the fifth year in a row, Baltimore County is ranked among the top ten counties in the nation according to the Center for Digital Government’s 14th annual 2016 Digital Counties Survey in conjunction with the National Association of Counties (NACo).
Among the counties that participated, Baltimore County earned the 6th place ranking in the category for counties with populations of 500,000 or more. The award recognizes counties considered to be “digital leaders” in terms of aligning technology initiatives with strategic priorities to provide significant cost savings and administrative efficiencies.
“We came in seventh place last year and have worked our way up to number six this year, thanks to our highly talented and dedicated technology staff here at the County,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “While the ranking is nice, it’s really gratifying that these outside experts recognize the tremendous strides we have made in harnessing technology to make our government work smarter and more efficiently so we can enhance the services we provide.”
Enhancing lifestyle through technology
This year, the survey recognizes leading counties across the nation that focus their technologies and innovations to enhance the lifestyle of people in the county. Topics in the survey included: transparency in government, mobility and mobile application initiatives, citizen engagement, collaborative initiatives, cybersecurity, hiring and retaining competent staff, broadband and wireless infrastructure, efficiency, resiliency, and the use of innovative and best practices.
Baltimore County will be honored as a top-ranked county at the 2016 Digital Counties Survey Awards Reception during NACo’s Annual Conference & Exposition in Long Beach, California on July 23, and will receive the Digital Counties Survey Award. Additionally, winners will be featured in the Center’s best practices and thought leadership white papers.
The Digital Counties Survey is hosted by the Center for Digital Government, a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government. The organization also provides government, education and industry leaders with decision support, research and educational services to help them effectively incorporate new technologies in the 21st century. This survey is conducted in partnership with the National Association of Counties (NACo), a full-service organization that provides legislative, research, technical, and public affairs assistance to county governments.
By Josh McCready, Communications Assistant, BCPL
Personalized help is waiting for customers of the Baltimore County Public Library through the “My Librarian” program. This new program at BCPL allows people to schedule a free 60-minute appointment with a librarian.
Anyone can get help with downloading books, audiobooks and magazines to their mobile device; assistance with job searches, résumés and email setup. They can learn more about the library’s many databases; find out how to do genealogy research; get basic computer help including Microsoft Office; learn how to manage their BCPL account using the library’s mobile app and much more. In order to receive the best possible service, we recommend having a valid Baltimore County Public Library card.
Customers can request an appointment online at www.bcpl.info/mylibrarian or in person at any of our 19 branches. Once a request has been completed, a librarian will contact the customer within three days to set up an appointment. They may be contacted by phone or email for more information prior to setting up an appointment and to determine whether an appointment is the best option. For quick email or phone questions, we are still encouraging customers to use our Ask a Librarian service (bcpl.libanswers.com).
For more information visit www.bcpl.info/mylibrarian.