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Library Services

Your community library is about a lot more than just books.  You can get access to computers, listen to stories, get a dog license, or take advantage of a multitude of other ways in which your library can help...

 

 

Assistive Technology

 

The Baltimore County Public Library catalog (opens in new window) is available in a large text version. This includes information accessed through the Catalog and My Account button on the library's home page.

 

Large Type (link opens catalog in new window) titles and audio books (books on CD (link opens catalog in new window), Playaways, downloadable audio books and Read Alongs (link opens catalog in new window) are available at all Baltimore County Public Library branches. There is also a small collection of Braille board and picture books. To find Braille books in the BCPL catalog, type Braille Books in the catalog search box.

 

Assistive or adaptive technology equipment is available on a first-come first-served basis at the Towson Branch. Customers should have basic keyboard skills and familiarity with the available software. Advanced training in use of this equipment is not provided. Ask at the Information Desk to use this equipment, which includes:

 

  • Optelec, a text/image enlargement system

 

  • JAWS (Job Access With Speech) that speaks and reads word processed documents, websites, databases, email messages, etc.

 

  • ZoomText to enlarge text

 

  • OPENBook scans a printed documents or graphic based text into an electronic text format using accurate optical character recognition and quality speech

 

Each branch has a magnifying glass at the Information Desk for customer use.

 

Deaf or hearing or speech impaired customers and TTY users can reach Baltimore County Public Library branches and the Administrative Offices through Maryland Relay.

 

InfoEyes is a question and answer service for people with a visual impairment or other print limitation. Librarians from the Maryland State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped and Maryland AskUsNow (opens in new window) and across the country provide the service. You can use it from a Baltimore County Public Library branch or from home, school or work. You can schedule an appointment to talk live with a librarian on the Internet or you can email a question to a librarian. Service is available during normal business hours, Monday through Saturday, except holidays.

 

The meeting rooms at the Catonsville, North Point, Randallstown, Towson and White Marsh Branches are equipped with Phonic Ear VocaLight, an infrared transmitter-receiver sound field amplification system.

 

Appropriate accommodations for individuals with disabilities planning on attending or who are an integral part of a branch program will be provided upon request. Please notify the branch holding the event eight to ten working days prior to the event.

 

Book Drops

 

All Baltimore County Public Library branches have book drops, except the Loch Raven Branch, but items must be returned by closing time on the due date to avoid late fees.

 

Drive Up Service

 

For your convenience, BCPL's most recently constructed branches (Arbutus and Perry Hall) have drive up windows to pick up and return materials. The drive-up window is open the same hours as the branch.

 

Fax / Photocopying / Printing

 

Faxing

 

Three Baltimore County Public Library branches provide for-pay outbound public fax stations:  Arbutus, Lansdowne, and North Point. Faxing is provided by library staff and equipment for a fee.  Faxing is available only to locations within the United States. Please call your desired branch to confirm rates.

 

In the course of providing library reference services:  the branch can opt to fax a limit of up to four pages to a home or business within the United States with no charge. If you need a longer document faxed, please ask at the Information Desk about the fees involved. There is no charge for information faxed between branches (including non-Baltimore County Public Libraries) for a customer.

 

Photocopying

 

Photocopies can be made on public pay copiers at any BCPL branch with the exception of our Loch Raven Branch .  Black and white copies on standard paper are $.15 per page.  Color photocopies or the use of special paper are not available.

 

Printing

 

Black and white and color printers are available for customer use from the Baltimore County Public Library branches' public computers as well as via our wireless network.  Printouts are $.15 per page for black and white pages and $.30 per page for color copies.

 

Government Applications and Forms

 
 

Many of the following forms should be available at every branch of the Baltimore County Public Library as well as online at the following links. Ask at the Information Desk to check on form availability.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Rental Housing License Applications
    Baltimore County Department of Permits, Approvals and Inspections requires that all buildings or a portion of a building that contain one to six dwelling units intended or designated as rental units must register and be licensed with Baltimore County.  Please note that the page at the above link includes links for the Carbon Monoxide Alarm Verification Form [PDF] (opens in new window)

 

 

Interlibrary Loan or Marina

 

If Baltimore County Public Library does not own titles you are looking for, the Interlibrary Loan or Marina services can be accessed to have materials sent from other Maryland public library systems or from other libraries around the country. Loan or Direct Loa

 

Language Line Service

 

Baltimore County Public Library staff has access to over the phone interpreters or translators in over 140 languages to help any customer who may not be fluent in English. Please call or visit any of our branches.

 

Licenses and Permits

 

Baltimore County Department of Permits, Approvals and Inspections offers access to some Baltimore County licenses and permits as a convenience through most Baltimore County Public Library branches.

 

The following license and permits are available at the Accounts Desk at our branches:

 

 

Application forms are available (Paper Annual Cat and Dog License Application form) and will be processed only for new, first pets at the Accounts Desk in our Baltimore County Public Library branches. Please note that a $2 library convenience fee per license will be applied.

 

People who only need to renew existing animal licenses should have received a renewal letter in the mail. These customers do not need to renew the license through the library but can renew by mail or by using the Baltimore County Citizen Access online form.

 

People who have one licensed pet and want to add a second pet must use the online form. The county maintains an account by pet owner.  In these cases, the customer is renewing one license and adding a second to their existing account

 

  • Electrical post card permit issued to licensed electricians and residents which allow work and generate inspections

 

  • Plumbing post card permit used by licensed plumbers to allow work and generate inspections

 

Please note that a $2 library convenience fee per license will be applied.

 

Meeting Room Reservations

 

Hold a meeting for your organization in one of our meeting rooms. Meeting rooms at Baltimore County Public Library branches can be reserved by non-profits, community interest groups, for-profit businesses or organizations.  Meeting rooms are not available at the Hereford, Parkville or Sollers Point Branches. Please see our Meeting Room Policy [PDF] (opens in new window) for fees and details. All fees must be paid in advance before the meeting room reservation is confirmed.

 

All meeting rooms, except the Loch Raven Branch, are accessible to people with disabilities. The meeting rooms at the Catonsville, North Point, Randallstown, Towson and White Marsh Branches are equipped with Phonic Ear VocaLight, an infrared transmitter receiver sound field amplification system.

 

Call the Interlibrary Loan Department at 410-887-6109, Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m.- 5 p.m. to request the use of a branch's meeting room. Please read our Meeting Room Policy [PDF] (opens in new window). A signed copy must be on file with the Interlibrary Loan Department prior to using the meeting room.

 

Registered Baltimore County home school organizations or individuals may book a meeting room for one three-hour period once a month at no charge . Meeting room reservations must be arranged through the Interlibrary Loan Department. Baltimore County Public School verification is needed.

 

The branches' Library Managers or the librarian-in-charge may approve the no charge use of their meeting room on a drop-in basis, for one-on-one tutoring. Tutors must be from a recognized non-profit organization that serves the state or metropolitan area. The tutoring session must be one on one, one tutor and one student, not a group of students. Approval is for immediate use not future dates.

 

 

Mobile Library Services

 

Baltimore County Public Library's Mobile Library Services operates four vehicles to serve the citizens of Baltimore County.

 

  • Library on the Go Senior makes neighborhood stops for convenient use of library services, and has computers with internet access.

 

  • Library on the Go Junior visits senior centers and retirement homes.

 

  • Read Rover and Read Rover Plus offer library services to Baltimore County licensed day care centers and home child care providers, and to Baltimore County community sites geared to people with disabilities. Children enjoy a story time with both stories and an activity; teachers or providers may select material to keep in their centers until the next visit.

 

Notification

 

Several methods are available for customers to get notification about requested holds (also known as reserves), overdue items, lost materials, and fees owed. You may choose to receive notification by email, automated phone service or text messaging. 

 

In order to reduce paper use and postage costs, BCPL does not mail paper notices to customers.  We encourage all of our customers to review their account information to be sure that their telephone number and email address are correct.  You can verify and update this information by choosing the My Account button (opens in new window) at the top of most pages on our site.

 

  • Email Notification

 

Customers can add or change an email address at any time by visiting the My Account (opens in new window) section of our catalog.  Login to your account and then click on the Contact Information and Preferences button to add or change your email address.

 

If you prefer, you can complete the Email Notification Sign Up Form (opens in new window) to add an email address and we will add the address to your account. You can also sign up for this email notification service when you get a library card for the first time, or by adding your email address to your library account at the Borrower Services Desk or the Information Desk at any Baltimore County Public Library branch.

 

To ensure that you get your BCPL emails, add these addresses to your email address book:  monitor@bcpl.net       notifyme@bcpl.net       notice@bcpl.net

 

BCPL will use email addresses only for library purposes and will use them only for the purpose of communicating library information to our customers.

 

The status of your library account, including items you have placed on hold, is available by calling the Shelf Help Line at 410-494-9063. You can also check the status of your holds and library account online.

 

  • Text Notification

 

Customers can choose to receive additional notification in the form of a text message.  This can be done by visiting the My Account (opens in new window) area of our home page.  Login to your account and click on the Contact Information and Preferences button to enter your mobile phone number and your carrier.  If the carrier is not listed, please contact your local branch for assistance.

 

Programs and Story Times

 

Most Baltimore County Public Library programs do not require registration. If no registration is required, seating is on a first-come, first served basis. Doors open 10 minutes before the start of each program. Please arrive early in order to be assured of seating. However, some programs do require advanced registration.

 

Registration

Those programs requiring registration include such programs as Baby Story Time (ages 0 to 23 months) and hands-on technology programs. These types of programs are noted in the print Calendar of Events as "registration required". You can register in-person or by calling the Baltimore County Public Library branch hosting the program and now can also register for programs online.

 

Online Program Registration

So that all customers will all have equal access no matter which way they choose to register, BCPL's online registration will become available at the same time phone and in-person registration begins, which is one week prior to the date of the program starting at 9 a.m. for Monday-Friday programs or at 1:00 p.m for Sunday programs. For example, if a program is scheduled for Monday, March 8th, registration would begin seven days prior, on March 1st at 9 a.m. If a program were scheduled for Sunday, April 20th, registration would begin at 1 p.m. on Sunday April 13th. Online registrations require the customer's name and phone number and for programs targeted to particular ages or grades, the age of the attendee will also be required. In cases where a parent or guardian must accompany a child, there will be a required space for that information. An email address is optional. If customers do enter an email address they will receive email confirmation of registration and a registration reminder prior to the program. See the links below for more details about how to register for programs online.

 

 

 

 

Search BCPL's Online Schedule of Events / Register for Programs Online - those programs requiring registration are underlined in the online calendar.

 

Appropriate accommodations for individuals with disabilities will be provided upon request to the branch holding the program. Eight business days’ notice prior to the event is requested.

 

Study and Quiet Rooms

 

BCPL branches are busy public spaces and people use libraries for many different reasons. We value all our customers and attempt to make the branch a comfortable and welcoming place but the hushed library of the past is no longer the norm or even possible in our busy facilities. Our rules of conduct state that customers should be considerate of the rights of others as they use our branches and we expect customers to: speak in conversational tones when using the branch, to use cell phones in designated areas, and to set cell phones to vibrate.

 

Within the limitations of each branch's physical space, quieter study environments have been created or designated.

 

  • Private group study rooms are available at the Arbutus, Cockeysville, Owings Mills, Perry Hall, Randallstown, Rosedale, Towson and Woodlawn branches. These rooms are for two or more people who need to work on a project or have a meeting. Advanced reservations for these rooms are not accepted. They are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Use of the group study room is limited to 2 hours, unless no one else is waiting, for a maximum of 4 hours per day. Sign-up will be under one person's name. Others in the same group cannot sign-up under a different name, as a way to extend access to the room. Individuals who would like a quiet place to study will be directed to other quiet study areas in the branch. 

 

  • Quiet study areas (which frequently also include the magazine collections) have been designed and enclosed at the Arbutus, Catonsville, Cockeysville, Owings Mills, Perry Hall, Randallstown Reisterstown, Rosedale, and White Marsh Branches. The North Point Branch has a designated quiet zone that is not enclosed.

 

Tax Forms

 

The State of Maryland no longer distributes paper tax forms through libraries. Federal IRS paper tax forms are also no longer available at Baltimore County Public Library locations.

 

Maryland and federal income tax forms can be downloaded and printed using branch public computers  directly from the Maryland and IRS websites. Visit our web page for online access to tax forms and information.

 

Reproducible Federal income tax forms for the current tax year are also available to be photocopied at the branches. The print and photocopy charge at the branch is $0.15 per page.