On Jan. 8, 1921, a group of educators, clergy and concerned citizens recognized the need for residents to be able to check out books and opened the first public library in Anne Arundel County.

In a small room in Annapolis City Hall, customers could browse 2,000 books after paying 10 cents for a library card. In a few years the Glen Burnie Library opened in a Masonic Temple and the Annapolis collection moved to larger quarters. The Public Library Association of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County was incorporated in 1936, which allowed us to grow along with our community.

Fast forward and the Anne Arundel County Public Library of today offers a collection of more than one million books, movies and other materials available to check out for free from any of its 16 locations or online. No longer just a repository of books, public libraries are a place for education, enrichment and inspiration.

We are proud of each of our over 400-person staff and every person that worked to build our libraries into what they are today. What will our libraries and staff become in the next 25, 50 or 100 years? We cannot wait to find out.