A healthy mind and a healthy body requires nutrition. For the third year in a row, BCPL partnered with The Food and Nutrition Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to provide free summer lunches to children this year at 10 branches. In response to the success of the summer lunch program, BCPL partnered with KidzTable throughout the school year to provide after-school meals and snacks at six branches. Throughout fiscal year 2016, BCPL provided more than 25,000 meals to children in the library, at no cost to either the children or BCPL.
The Towson and White Marsh branches joined the Arbutus Branch to become official Passport Acceptance Facilities. This convenient and popular service, which began in fiscal year 2015, provides a comfortable location and a quick turnaround for customers to complete the passport application process with no need for an appointment during scheduled operating hours.
On your mark, get set, READ! This was the theme for this year’s summer reading and set the stage for a season of high energy activities throughout all of BCPL’s branches. Designed to promote and nurture continued learning and development in a fun way over school break, the Summer Reading Club saw a record high of over 58,000 participants, birth through adult. New to the 2016 program was an adult component, making this a year where the Summer Reading Club was truly created for — and enjoyed by — all ages.
Reflective of both community interest and support from our school partners, maker and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programming continued to be an emphasis for BCPL. Branches offered a wide array of both high and low-tech programs for all ages, such as Coding for Teens, Science in the Summer and crafternoons. The need for additional equipment to expand our maker programs was met through the generosity of the Maryland Department of Education — Division of Library Development and Services by providing each library system in Maryland with laptops used exclusively for this specialized programming for children and teens.
Fiscal Year 2016 was a transformative one for BCPL. Baltimore County’s more than 820,000 residents made full use of our traditional and new services during 10.4 million visits to our 19 branches, four bookmobiles and virtual branch.