The County Commissioners created the Caroline County Public Library in 1961. It operated out of a storefront in Denton. The current Central Library facility was opened in 1971 and was subsequently renovated and enlarged in 1995. The library system includes the Central Library in Denton and branches in Federalsburg (opened in 1974) and Greensboro (opened in 1997).
The library is a county agency operated under statutory provisions of the education section of the Annotated Code of Maryland, and is an exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Board is an empowered, decision-making entity. Members are appointed by the County Commissioners from recommendations made by the Board of Library Trustees. The library receives operating monies from both county and state with a preponderance of funds coming from the county. Additionally, it has augmented its funding via competitive grants which have led to new innovations and improvements.
The Caroline County Public Library acts as the county’s community center, its cultural and information center, and its lifelong learning center. Its Vision states: “The Caroline County Public Library empowers customers to use information and ideas to enrich their lives.” The library carries this out with approximately 21 FTE staff including professional librarians, Bachelor degreed Library Associates and clerical staff. All support the library program in the following areas: Administration, Circulation, Outreach, Reference, Children’s Services, Branch Services, Technical Services, and Computer Services.
The library is part of a strong statewide network and receives supporting services from a regional library in Salisbury, MD (Eastern Shore Regional Library) and the State Library Resource Center at Enoch Pratt in Baltimore, MD. Services include a daily delivery system. Access to the collections of all the State’s public libraries and many of its academic libraries is available. Sailor, the statewide public library technology network, provides routers, high speed Internet access and content to all public library systems in Maryland.
The library has used technology as a means of improving operations and providing services to its customers. All branches are connected to the Central Library via point-to-point wireless service. The Central Library uses local and wide area networks and its Sailor router and connections to provide Internet service to its branches and acts as an Internet Service Provider (ISP) for county government and the schools. The library provides full-text subscription databases and other content on its web site to all its customers either remotely or from some 30 public access computers in the branches. The library also provides automation services for the principal functions of all the school media centers in the county. This lets them streamline their operations and share resources among the schools and public library branches heretofore unavailable. Caroline is the only county in Maryland to have achieved this.
Over the years the Caroline County Public Library has been acknowledged as a leader in the development and provision of library services. It initiated new user, community and reference assessments, subsequently used statewide, to develop its long-range plan in terms of its users. The plan was cited by the U.S. Department of Education. The library participated in studies on information and referral programs with national implications. The library developed one of the first CD-ROM networks in the country in 1986. During the last statewide assessments of public library reference services, the Caroline County Public Library scored the best in the State by a significant margin. Many of the public libraries in Delaware have benchmarked the Caroline County Public Library to help them improve their services.
The library carries out or hosts numerous cultural, educational, and informational programs for its customers. The Caroline County Public Library will continue to support the educational, informational and lifelong learning needs of its customers and the economic development of Caroline County.
Early Libraries in Caroline County