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February 2014
Where the County Reads, Where the County Meets, Where the County Learns 
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B. Parker Hamilton, MCPL DirectorFrom the Director


On January 15, County Executive Isiah Leggett announced his Recommended FY15-20 Capital Improvements Program(CIP). "My capital budget reflects a new and exciting approach to library renovations. In the past, massive renovations have resulted in long closures and costly projects which have disrupted local library services," said County Executive Leggett. "My capital budget includes funding for two new level-of-effort projects funding mini-renovations to more quickly provide 21st century library facilities. Rather than the two libraries that would have been updated under the old approach, this new approach is expected to renovate and modernize seventeen libraries within the six-year CIP period."


This recommended CIP budget includes a Library Refurbishment Level of Effort Project that will support important projects that make libraries more useful and current such as: 

  • Reorganizing the interior layout of a branch.
  • Updating or creating collaboration and work spaces for our customers: learning labs, tutor rooms, group study rooms, and emergent literacy areas.
  • Updating furniture, shelving, and service desks.
  • Replacing worn bathrooms, carpets, lighting, paint, floor surfaces, and other mechanical issues.
  • This will be coordinated with County-wide level of effort projects such as Energy Conservation, HVAC replacement, Planned Lifecycle Asset Replacement (PLAR), and other projects to address major building systems.

The plan calls for the refurbishment of two libraries in the first year, about three per year thereafter, with the goal of refurbishing a branch every seven years. It is a substantial investment, $11.9 million proposed for FY15-20, with $1.0 million proposed in FY15, going up from $1.8 million in FY16 to $2.5 million in FY20.


The recommended 21st Century Library Enhancements Level of Effort Project will allow MCPL to respond to customer needs and demands. Six million dollars of funding from FY15-20, starting with $0.5 million per year in FY15 and FY16, and going to $1.5 million per year in FY18 and FY19, will support both single branch and system-wide needs to provide 21st century services, including items such as:


  • Wi-Fi network (and related network modifications).
  • Self-service technologies: printing, scanning, copying, computer and tablet lending, materials self-checkout, and other devices.
  • Electrical wiring, outlets, and furniture that supports customers' uses of their own devices.
  • Smart Rooms and other learning/meeting/collaboration technologies.
  • Service desk improvements.
  • Technology used by staff to provide services.
  • New items and approaches fresh from the drawing board.

This new approach complements, and does not preclude larger library projects where a more substantial change to a library building is justified, for instance, for the combination Library/Recreation Center at Wheaton, or a new library in Clarksburg. The new approach, however, adds faster, lower cost options to more efficiently modernize all 21 library branches continuously. As stated by Mr. Leggett, the new approach is designed to be less costly and more effective for the whole system over time. The new approach calls for shorter closure periods of time - - - not the three years that we are accustomed to under the current model.


The County Council has scheduled public hearings for the CIP on February 5, 2014 at 1:30 and 7 PM and on February 6, 2014 at 7 PM. There will also be a Council Health and Human Services Committee worksession on the CIP for MCPL, to be scheduled in the early spring. The Council will make final decisions on the CIP in mid-May, with implementation beginning on July 1, 2014. For more information on Council deliberations on the CIP, please visit the Council's website.


For those who want to testify at the public hearings, please call 240-777-7803. The deadline to sign up to testify for 1:30 PM hearings is 5 PM the day before the hearings, and for 7:30 PM hearings, the deadline is 10 AM the day of the hearings.


We are very excited about these two new level-of-effort projects. I want to thank all of you who attended the public forums and provided feedback that contributed to this vital effort, which recognizes an urgent need for MCPL to more quickly modernize the entire library system to better meet the evolving needs of our growing and diverse Montgomery County community.


I invite you to join us on March 15 for the grand reopening of the Olney Branch. 


B. Parker Hamilton signature 

B. Parker Hamilton, Director 

Save the Date


All MCPL branches and offices will be closed on Monday, February 17, 2014 in observance of Presidents' Day.


Take Your Child to the Library Day is Saturday, February 1, 2014. But we say, every day is an excellent day to take your child to the library! Find a branch with the hours and programs that match your needs.  


February is Library Lovers Month! Join Friends of the Library, the Library Board, and MCPL in celebrating Library Lovers Month, a month-long salute to libraries of all types. This is an opportunity for everyone, especially library support groups, to recognize the value of libraries and to work to assure that all libraries will be able to continue to serve our residents. The Kickoff event is scheduled for February 1. 


Digital Learning Day is February 5, 2014. Login and access Learn4Life and test prep services.



Celebrate Black History Month! The theme for Black History Month in 2014 is "Civil Rights in America" chronicling the significant milestones by African-Americans and others in the battle for civil rights and equal treatment under the law. Stop by one of our branches and check out books and materials to explore Black history and the African American experience.


Grand Reopening of Olney Branch.  The newly reonvated Olney Branch of MCPL will reopen with a public ceremony/ribbon cutting on the morning of Saturday, March 15.

Did You Know . . .

...that you can take high-quality, free courses and career training programs entirely over the Internet through Learn4Life?  You can take courses that offer special credits or certificates, academic instruction, career training, test prep, and personal enrichment.  All you need is a library card.  Get started learning today!



Branch Out

Check Out the Great Events at the Germantown Branch!


Help Germantown Branch celebrate Lunar New Year! Preschoolers and their families are invited to celebrate the Lunar New Year on Saturday, February 8 at 10:30 AM with a special storytime that includes songs, crafts and early literacy activities. No registration required.


Adults and teens are invited to attend the free Saturday African American Film Festival in celebration of Black History Month. Enjoy the films, Red Tails (February 15, 2 PM) and The Secret Life of Bees (February 22, 2 PM).


Mr. Jon and young friends
On Saturday, February 22, 11 AM, join Parents' Choice Award winning children's musician Mr. Jon at Germantown Branch as he performs fun family music. Dance and sing along to songs you know and fun new originals by Mr. Jon. A fun time for all ages! Limited seating. Free tickets available beginning at 6 PM on Tuesday, February 18. No one admitted without a ticket. Sponsored by the Friends of the Library, Germantown Chapter.


It's that time of year again! Need help with taxes? The RSVP/AARP Tax Aide Program will provide free income tax preparation by trained volunteers for low-to-moderate income Montgomery County residents - especially seniors age 60 and over. Tax assistance is available at the Germantown branch from 10:30 AM - 3:30 PM every Monday from February 10 - April 14. To schedule an appointment, call 240-777-2577 or visit Tax Aide Program website.


Teens and adults, come learn how to use your 21st Century Library! Your library card is a passport to homework help, educational databases, language learning, e-books and more! Attend this free event to learn more! Childcare is provided by the Parent Academy for children ages 4-12, so that parents or caregivers can attend this program. Call 240-777-0110 or register online now for the February 19, 7 PM session presented by the MCPL Outreach Team.


For more information on Germantown Branch programs and all MCPL programs, check MCPL's Calendar of Events.

Library Quote
"Libraries... house our dreams." ~ Nikki Giovanni
County Happenings

Public Forum on Race Relations


The Montgomery County and City of Rockville Human Rights commissions will host a public discussion featuring a diverse group of community relations experts to explore racial, ethnic and community relations in Montgomery County. The forum, called "Do You Think a Trayvon Martin-Type Incident Could Occur in Montgomery County?" will take place on Saturday, February 1 from 1 to 4 PM in the Executive Office Building, lobby level auditorium, 101 Monroe Street, Rockville.


Moderated by Dr. Sheryl Brissett Chapman, executive director for the National Center for Children and Families, the forum will give participants an opportunity to contribute to a dialogue on the topic of race and community relations. The Trayvon Martin incident that took place two years ago in Sanford, Florida, will provide a starting point for the conversation, challenging participants to consider what they would do in a similar situation.


For more information about the forum, call James Stowe, director of the Office of Human Rights, at 240-777-8490.



It's Time for Scrabble Scramble!


Please join the Literacy Council of Montgomery County (LCMC) on March 16, 6 to 9 PM at the Manor Country Club, 14901 Carrolton Road, Rockville, for Scrabble, cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, dinner, silent auction and a raffle in support of Adult Literacy. Sign up to be a player; a sponsor; or donor of an item for the silent auction - or all three! For more information please visit LCMC's website.


Register Now! 2014 Civil Rights Educational Freedom Tour, March 31- April 5, 2014.


Join the Office of Human Rights in a fun-filled and educational tour traveling south to visit the birth place of the Civil Rights Movement. Retrace the Freedom Trail and learn about Martin Luther King Jr.; Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott; Voters Rights and other significant events of the Civil Rights Movement. You do not have to be a resident of Montgomery County, Maryland to participate in this amazing adventure. Visit the 2014 Civil Rights Educational Freedom Tour website for more information.


Volunteers Needed!


The Commission for Women-Counseling Services (CFW-CS) offers collaborative, solution-focused, short-term counseling services to help individuals address challenging life transitions. The CFW is currently recruiting volunteers to perform the following supportive duties: front desk coverage, answering phones, greeting visitors and clients, helping potential clients determine their need for services, registering clients for workshops, linking clients to available resources when appropriate. The CFW is looking for individuals 18 years or older who are interested in helping serve a diverse population. Use of basic computer software, including Word and Email will be an important part of this job. Ability to listen and calmly respond to clients' needs, attention to detail, flexibility, team work, and the ability to multi-task are essential. All training is on-the-job. For more information, please call Jamila Allouane, Counseling Coordinator, at 240.777.8302 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays, between 8:30 AM and 5 PM.

You may also email your resume to

FOL Happenings

Library Lovers Month




The Friends of the Library, Montgomery County, Inc. (FOLMC) and MCPL will kick off Library Lovers Month on February 1, 2014, 11 AM, at the newly opened Gaithersburg Branch.


The featured performer this year will be the nationally renowned bilingual Mister G, whose genre hopping music was awarded a Parents' Choice Gold Award and has been nominated for a 2013 Latin Grammy for Best Children's Recording. This event is free and open to the public.


Spring Literary Luncheon Series


It's not too early to reserve space for the next round of the Literary Luncheon Series at the Strathmore Mansion. The spring session begins on Thursday, March 20, 2014 with author and BBC correspondent Kim Ghattas who will discuss her latest book, The Secretary: a Journey with Hillary Clinton from Beirut to the Heart of American Power, and her experiences as an international journalist.


Ms. Ghattas will be followed by Marvin Kalb on Thursday, April 17, 2014. Journalist Marvin Kalb will discuss his new book, Road to War: Presidential Commitments Honored and Betrayed, an analysis of how easy it is for an American President to go to war and just how hard it is to end one.


To reserve your space, please visit and click on the Literary Luncheon Series.

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