Baltimore County Library to reopen next week

Kaleah Mcilwain

(BALTIMORE) When businesses closed their doors last year due to the pandemic, many started to rely on curbside pickup and delivery services to serve their customers. That's when Sonia Alcantara-Antoine, director of the Baltimore County Public Library, realized it was time for them to do the same.

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Sonia Alcantara-Antoine, director of the Baltimore County Public Library.(Coyle Studios/ The Baltimore County Public Library)

“Curbside pick up was a way for us to meet the needs of a community in the middle of a pandemic while the library is for the most part closed to the public,” said Alcantara-Antoine.

Once they started their curbside service, library cardholders could continue getting books, printouts, Chromebooks, and wifi hotspots during the pandemic. They expanded their collection of certain items in their “Library of Things,” to meet the new needs of the community.

"We had to reimagine what public service in a public library looks like in a world where we all have to be socially distanced, and we all have to be masked up and six feet apart," said Alcantara-Antoine.

The “Library of Things” offers a range of materials that cardholders can borrow, such as outdoor "adventure" backpacks, baby booster kits, board games, fishing poles, telescopes, and more.

Additionally, their new virtual programming proved to be helpful for the future of the library. Alcantara-Antoine said they have expanded their audience with online events, as more people can attend virtually than in person.

The Baltimore County Public Library will reopen for limited, in-person browsing on Monday, May 17, at 30 percent capacity. They are planning to find a way to sustain curbside pickup and virtual programming as they have been popular during the pandemic.

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The Baltimore County Public Library's Townson branch.(Coyle Studios/ The Baltimore County Public Library)

“The library is really the only institution where there is no price tag attached to it. We provide the same to everybody no matter if you’re rich or poor. That's a very important part of who we are and what we do for the community. We level the playing field,” she said.

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Journalist with a background reporting on local communities, now living in and reporting on the Baltimore area. Find me on twitter!

Baltimore, MD
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