Libraries have been important to the community of Catonsville for over a century. In the late 1800s, Library Hall on Frederick Road opposite Egges Lane provided a small book collection, with separate reading rooms for men and women. But it was not free; books were rented for a few cents a day.
In the 1930s need for a free public library was recognized. In 1941 the Catonsville Library Association, Inc., was formed. To fund the library, volunteers went door to door soliciting $1 from local residents. Donations of books and magazines were welcomed.
On July 1, 1941, the Catonsville Free Public Library opened its doors in a rented building on Frederick Road. By 1945 the book collection numbered 3,625 volumes for adults and 1,276 for children, plus newspapers and periodicals. There was also a branch library at the Banneker School.
The busy library soon outgrew its rented quarters. In 1945 the library association purchased a small brick building at 927 Frederick Road, where library service thrived, breaking previous daily circulation records.
Continued growth necessitated a new location. In 1961, land was purchased at 1100 Frederick Road. The new Catonsville Branch, part of the Baltimore County Public Library system, was dedicated in December 1963. The branch has flourished at this location with changes made when needed to serve the information needs of the community and the county.
The collection now includes books, DVDs, CDs, talking books, magazines, and a wide range of online databases for research. Computer catalogs have replaced the card catalogs of old
Full-time and several part-time librarians assist library users in their search for information. An able circulation staff serves the public and keeps materials in order. The Friends of the Catonsville Library, established in 1962, provides continued support to library projects, through generous donations, as well as staffing and maintaining the Catonsville Room.