ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY
In 1921, a group of concerned citizens founded the Library Commission and opened the county's first public library in a small room in the Annapolis City Hall. Under the librarianship of Eliza Suydam, the library opened its doors three days a week, usually from 3 to 5:30 pm. Records of those early days show that the original collection was completely donated and totaled about 2,000 books. Suydam's monthly salary was $25.
By 1927, the library boasted 3,503 card holders and averaged 100 checkouts each day. Satellite libraries, or branches, began appearing in outlying communities, sometimes housed in private homes.
The Library Commission incorporated in 1935, changing its name to The Public Library Association of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, Inc., and quickly purchased Reynolds Tavern on Church Circle and turned it into a library and administrative offices.
With the retirement of Eliza Suydam in 1937, Esther King, the first to be titled Library Administrator, assumed the directorship of the public library. With the strong support and fundraising efforts of Board President Elmer M. Jackson, Jr., and other trustees, King steered the system for several decades through financial difficulties and the tremendous social changes underway in Anne Arundel County.
In an attempt to extend library service to the Black residents of Annapolis, a branch library was opened on Clay Street in 1938. It was open 20 hours a week. This branch was closed in 1950, and its librarian, Mrs. Eloise Richardson, was added to the staff at Reynolds' Tavern on Church Circle. She later became librarian at the Crownsville State Hospital.
Securing financial support for the much-needed expansion of library services proved arduous until charter government came to the county in 1965. With the election of County Executive Joseph Alton, Jr., a strong advocate of modern and widened library service to all county residents, the library experienced an unprecedented growth of buildings, staff and services. Between 1965 and 1972, eight permanent library branches opened.
Upon King's retirement in 1971, the Board of Library Trustees chose Edward B. Hall to assume responsibility as administrator. With the continued support of the Anne Arundel County Executive and members of the County Council, a new Library Headquarters building and new branches in Crofton, Maryland City, Eastport-Annapolis Neck, Broadneck, Severn, Edgewater and Mountain Road were built. Additionally, the library installed its first computerized checkout system and public catalog. When Hall retired in 1993, the library's capital program included plans for new buildings to replace the Maryland City and Crofton Branches.
In November 1993, the Library Board of Trustees chose Ronald S. Kozlowski to serve as library administrator. Under his leadership, the library completed its second major automation project, opening library services to citizens over the internet. The capital building program continued with the opening of the replacement building for the Maryland City community in the new neighborhood of Russett. Additionally, a new 25,000 square foot facility replaced the previous Crofton Library storefront, and the west county residents received a new 40,000 square foot building in Odenton. Mr. Kozlowski retired on October 1, 2002.
The board appointed Marion Francis as administrator effective October 1, 2002. Under her leadership, The Anne Arundel County Public Library Foundation began. She also chaired the Maryland Library Association's Committee for Disaster Relief for Gulf Coast Libraries to help Mississippi libraries affected by Hurricane Katrina. After Ms. Francis' retirement on May 1, 2010, Hampton "Skip" Auld assumed the role as library director.
Under his leadership, a new sixteenth location opened at Westfield Annapolis Mall, a $1.4 million renovation of the Severn Library occurred, and two new buildings opened in Annapolis and Riviera Beach. New branches at Glen Burnie and the Millersville area have already received funding from county officials.
Today, Anne Arundel County Public Library (AACPL) provides more than 1 million books, movies and other items. The system's extensive collection of digital resources proved priceless during the COVID-19 pandemic as did the elimination of all overdue fines. AACPL also embraced its role as a trusted community resource and offered vaccines, COVID-19 test kits and masks during the public health crisis. The library will continue to evolve to meet the needs of the community in years to come.
In 1976, the administrative staff was moved from Reynolds Tavern to their new headquarters facility on Harry S. Truman Parkway. Library headquarters houses all the administrative functions and is the coordinating center of the system. The evaluation, ordering, processing and delivery of all materials operates from headquarters. In 1991, extensive renovations expanded Library Headquarters to accommodate an increasing number of employees. With the exception of interior renovations, it remains mostly unchanged.
Dedicated in December 1983, this 11,500 square foot building is located at 1275 Green Holly Drive in the Cape St. Claire area. The first branch to have both the automated checkout system and the materials theft detection system, the Broadneck Library is located across from Broadneck High School.
BROOKLYN PARK LIBRARY
First housed in a school and in rented quarters, the current 12,500 square foot building opened in June 1971 at 11th Avenue off Ritchie Highway. Because of Brooklyn Park's close proximity to the Brooklyn branch of Baltimore's Enoch Pratt Free Library, these two branches serve the same customers and are able to offer them a great variety of resources. The branch was the first location with a Discovery Dock Children's Area and the first to offer social worker services.
MICHAEL E. BUSCH ANNAPOLIS LIBRARY (BUSCH ANNAPOLIS)
In November 1969, library service moved from Reynolds Tavern to 1410 West Street. The system's interlibrary loan process operates from this facility as well as the Foundation Center. In December 1986, a 2,200 square foot addition was completed, creating a total of 20,900 square feet. After decades of advocacy, a new 32,500 square foot facility opened in July 2020, named in honor of longtime library supporter and Maryland House of Delegates Speaker Michael E. Busch. It features a makerspace, café, individual collaboration spaces and outdoor space for community events. It is the only branch to have a brick donor walkway and geothermal heating and cooling. It is a LEED Gold certified facility.
The Crofton Library opened in January 1976, originally housed in a shopping center. The 14,000 square foot branch relocated to a new, free-standing 25,000 square foot facility in Fall 2002. It was one of the first branches to offer self-check machines and host outdoor concerts.
Opened in 1968, this building received an architectural award in 1972 for its "tobacco barn" shape. Completely renovated in 1989 and in 1991 the facility received additions increasing the staff work area, meeting room and parking lot. The branch features a farmer's market each season and recently began offering customers access to a social worker.
DISCOVERIES: THE LIBRARY AT THE MALL
Opened at Westfield Annapolis Mall as a pilot in 2018, this branch quickly became a favorite by residents from over 100 different zip codes. Customers loved the focus on programs and a small, curated collection. In February 2020, a 12,700 square foot more permanent (10-year lease) location opened near the Crate and Barrel. In response to pandemic needs, a community pantry was opened offering basic baby and hygiene supplies.
EASTPORT-ANNAPOLIS NECK LIBRARY
This 12,100 square foot branch opened in April 1979 and is located at across from Quiet Waters Park. Because of its proximity to the park, fishing poles are available for checkout at this branch. The architectural design of the building follows a nautical theme because of the branch's location on the Annapolis Neck peninsula. The first Library Foundation held its first in-branch gala at this library.
Dedicated in 1991, the 12,000 square foot Edgewater branch adjoins the South County Senior Center. The branch hosts a social worker on a regular basis and offers fishing poles for checkout. The branch recently converted unused outdoor space into a community gathering spot.
GLEN BURNIE LIBRARY
The first county library in the northern area opened in 1953 in a rented house in Harundale. The new building was constructed and opened in May 1969 at 1010 Eastway. The system's Library by Mail service to the homebound operates out of this 20,200 square foot facility, which is slated to be replaced in 2025 with a two-story facility. The library is the only branch to offer ukuleles for checkout.
The old Baltimore and Annapolis Railroad Station was established as a library in 1958. Community residents contributed $8,000 to help build a new building which opened in 1967. The oldest standing AACPL building, the facility features a nuclear fallout shelter in its basement.
MARYLAND CITY at RUSSETT LIBRARY
Originally located on Laurel-Fort Meade Road (Rte. 178) in the Maryland City Plaza Shopping Center, this branch opened in July 1978. During its years as a storefront, Maryland City circulated more items per square foot than any other branch. In October 1998, the branch relocated to a 15,214 square foot building located in the planned community of Russett. The library receives funding from the Laurel Race Course Impact Fund.
MOUNTAIN ROAD LIBRARY
Citizens of Anne Arundel County collected 4,500 signatures in 1988 in support of this new library, which opened in 1994 in the Long Point Mall. The first to offer fishing poles for checkout, the branch partners with area parks and garden centers.
Once housed in a church building provided by the Soroptimist Club of Severn and other smaller buildings, this library has been providing service since 1969. In 2004, a two-story, 40,000 square foot building opened to the public with the system's largest collection of materials. The first floor hosts a separate children's collection and large meeting room space that divides into two rooms. The top floor holds the adult and young adult collections along with a separate computer lab for training and public use. It is the only two-story building in AACPL. It also offers a memory lab and creation station.
RIVIERA BEACH LIBRARY
The original branch first opened in 1963 and was last permanently located on the corner of Duvall Highway and Fort Smallwood Road. A new 20,000 square foot building is under construction and is scheduled to open in late Fall 2022 .
Dedicated in 1986 this library is located in the Severn Square Shopping Center at the intersection of Route 175 and Ridge Road. Previously called Provinces, the 11,500 square feet building receives funding from the county's Video Lottery Facility Local Development Council and underwent a $1.2 million renovation in 2020. Due to its proximity to Fort Meade, the library offers special collections including the Military Family Resource Collection and Healing Library Kits.
SEVERNA PARK LIBRARY
Originally housed in a former Baltimore and Annapolis Railroad station in 1955, this branch moved to its present site at 45 McKinsey Road in 1972. In 1990, extensive renovations retained its unique circular design. The first to pilot multiple express checkout stations, the branch garnered the most checkouts in the system for the last three years.