Every Child Ready to Read Programs
Expert library staff held more than 3,200 storytimes in fiscal year 2023 with over 101,000 parents, caregivers and children attending the weekly school readiness events. These programs focus on the five skills critical to early literacy: reading, writing, talking, singing and playing. We also added evening and weekend programs to make our offerings more accessible to families who can’t attend during the day during the week.
"As a mom of 2 kids who are 4 and 5, I can't imagine what I would have done without storytime. It has made such a huge difference."
1000 Books Before Kindergarten
Research shows that reading is an early indicator of a child’s academic success. The 1000 Books Before Kindergarten challenge encourages parents and caregivers to read 1,000 books with their child before kindergarten to put them on the path to future success. We saw a record number of children signing up in fiscal year 2023 with more than 2,000 kids beginning their reading journey.
In fiscal year 2023, we were able to refresh our program providing registrants with a tote bag and a book to keep for signing up for the program and with a book at each 100-book milestone. More than 12,000 books were distributed in libraries, at preschools and at community events.
Bringing the Library to Residents
With four vehicles and nine additional staff, the library brought its well-known school readiness programs and resources to underserved communities and customers lacking transportation. Last fiscal year, AACPL attended or visited more than 700 community events, classrooms or schools reaching over 50,000 people. Library staff visited Anne Arundel County Public School classrooms, family support centers, public housing and mobile home neighborhoods, farmers’ markets, child development centers, parks, food pantry sites, camps, Boys & Girls clubs, neighborhood festivals, gardening centers, coffee shops and more.
At Home Access to Preschool Curriculum
AACPL was able to offer home access to two preschool curriculums to library card holders. In fiscal year 2023, more than 7,600 people used the popular ABC Mouse program to help ensure their child was school ready.
Connecting People with Technology
AACPL is committed to helping bridge the digital divide by providing residents access to devices, high-speed internet, technology skills and resources that can help build successful lives.
In addition to providing computers and public Wi-Fi in our buildings, hotspots and laptops for checkout and computer classes, we are proud to help connect residents with federal and state programs designed to break down barriers to digital equity. In fiscal year 2023, more than 660 people checked out chromebook kits, over 2,200 Wi-Fi hotspots were loaned out, more than 155,000 people used in-branch computers and over 2.5 million Wi-Fi sessions were held on library property.
We were proud to host Governor Moore, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves, Information Superhighway CEO Evan Marwell and other officials at the Busch Annapolis Library as they launched the Maryland ActNow campaign to extend broadband internet access to all Marylanders and make it more affordable through the Affordable Connectivity Program. Library staff at every branch are assisting customers across the county on how to sign up for the program.
Improving Quality of Life
All Libraries Now Offering Gun Safety Locks
In April, AACPL became the first library in the state to distribute free gun safety locks. Through a partnership with the county’s department of health, residents 18 years and older can receive up to two gun locks without identification. More than 3,200 gun safety locks have been distributed so far.
“This is really great, if these [gun] locks can save one life, it's completely worth it. Thank you for doing this.”
With 16 branches and trusted staff, libraries are an accessible space where residents feel comfortable and welcome. Customers have shared they were picking up the locks to protect their grandchildren, partners and themselves. AACPL continues to partner with the health department to address public health needs including providing COVID-19 test kits.
Community Pantry Celebrates Two Year Anniversary
The Community Pantry at Discoveries: The Library at the Mall continues to serve the needs of thousands of area families. In fiscal year 2023, more than 2,200 families visited the pantry with more than 82,000 diapers distributed and over 1,643 packs of menstrual and incontinence supplies given out. Originally opened in 2021, the pantry is open the first Saturday of the month from 10-noon and the first Tuesday of the month from 6-7 pm. Donations are accepted in the branch and online at aacpl.net/pantry.
I want to say THANK YOU for sharing and facilitating a community of love for everyone! It means so much to me and the people I love, and in times like this it can be really tough and scary out there.
Connecting Residents to the Arts, History and Culture
Riviera Beach Library Faces Delays
The Department of Public Works (DPW) has encountered several unanticipated delays while constructing the new Riviera Beach Public Library. The DPW is working diligently to complete this exciting project in the safest and quickest manner possible. Unfortunately, the work needed to complete the new facility and open doors to the community will extend into early 2024.
Issues with contracts and materials caused many of the delays experienced with this project. Currently, the DPW is navigating revisions in the drainage requirements, which will require new permits. DPW is exploring all opportunities to expedite the permitting process and condense the remaining construction schedule to minimize further delays.
New Location for Mountain Road Library
After decades of continual building issues, the Mountain Road Library moved to a new space in the Lakeshore Plaza shopping center. The highly visible location is attracting old and new customers to enjoy the library’s materials, computers, comfortable seating and new furniture. Library programs are also in high demand for all ages. Stop by and visit us next to the Two Rivers Restaurant at 4115 Mountain Road.
The Severn Library continues to undergo interior and exterior improvements thanks to funding from the county’s Local Development Council. Over the last four years, the community served by the Severn Library has benefited from a number of grants totaling more than $1.4 million. The interior and exterior of the popular library have been substantially improved including creating more welcoming and functional public spaces, increased visibility of the branch and the ability of library staff to reach customers outside the building through the new Library on the Go vehicle, Twig. Additional improvements to restrooms in the facility and more exterior and interior renovations and enhancements are also underway. AACPL thanks the Local Development Council for their tremendous support.
The Anne Arundel County Public Library Foundation is an independent non-profit dedicated to bridging the gap in critical library needs not covered by public funding. Since 2006, the Library Foundation has raised over $4.8 million from private sources. Our 16-member volunteer board of directors is responsible for fundraising, financial, legal and ethical oversight of the foundation, as well as donor cultivation, stewardship and library advocacy.
While public funding builds a vital and important foundation, it does not cover all the innovative programs that define our library as a beacon of learning, exploration and connection. Last year alone, contributions from individuals, businesses, grant-making foundations and organizations exceeded $500,000.
Donations helped provide hundreds of diverse programs at all 16 branches, bringing authors, music, dance and storytelling to life. Your support enhanced our library spaces with inviting displays, gardens, comfy reading nooks and cutting-edge technology like hotspots, SMART Boards and virtual meeting equipment. Gifts also provided reading incentives such as books, earbuds and journals for all ages, encouraging and fostering a culture of lifelong learning.