Touch screen computers, wi-fi access, laptops for loan, self-checkout machines that dole out books and DVDs, digital signage to assist in navigation: this doesn’t sound like the library you grew up visiting after school. Thanks to an approved strategic plan that runs through the end of 2016, Montgomery County Public Libraries are taking a huge leap into the 21st century, and these high-tech resources are the new, exciting reality for county children and community members.
Two of the 21 branches within the Montgomery County Public Libraries are undergoing or have completed full renovations and “21st century library enhancements.” The Gaithersburg location enjoyed its grand opening on Jan. 4, 2014. The Olney location, which is still undergoing nearly $13 million in renovations, is scheduled to open in March of this year. You can follow along with the construction news here. Some of the renovations include an expanded children’s room and separate teen area, along with new group study and tutor rooms, and a dividable meeting room to host up to 90 attendees.
B. Parker Hamilton, director of the Montgomery County Public Libraries, shared the state of the county’s library system in a (publicly available) 2013 presentation, and focused on the strategic plan’s branch evaluation methods moving forward: “refresh, renovate, redesign (build new library), reach beyond our walls, realize synergies (partnerships-co-locations).”
Under the new plan and through 2020, Hamilton notes that each branch will be addressed and “refreshed” every 7 to 10 years; however, addressing the remainder of the branches as full renovations is estimated to take until 2039.
Montgomery County Public Libraries have the future and the community in mind. Think 3-D printers, apps as library content, loanable e-reader devices. All of these and more are part of the system’s 2015 and beyond plan, and we can’t wait to see what they have in store.
You can follow Montgomery County Public Libraries on Twitter to see their renovation progress, as well as their many programs and offerings by following @MCPL_Libraries.