Leonardtown, MD – St. Mary’s County Library experienced a remarkable surge in patronage and expanded its services in Fiscal Year 2023, according to the recently released annual report. With a staggering 11% increase in checkouts, the library checked out 1,039,565 physical items and 168,514 digital items, solidifying its position as a vital resource for the community. The library’s user base also grew, with 32,044 registered cardholders.

In response to the growing demand for online resources, St. Mary’s County Library introduced access to renowned publications such as Consumer Reports, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and Wowbrary. These additions and the library’s existing collection of over 60 online resources covering topics ranging from genealogy to finance have proven invaluable assets for users. The library also offers Mango Languages, test preparation, and homework help services, catering to the diverse needs of its patrons.

The library saw a significant influx of visitors in FY2023, with 308,551 individuals stepping through its doors. St. Mary’s County Library organized over 1,400 free programs to engage the community further, attracting nearly 30,000 attendees. These programs encompassed various activities, including professional performances and classes on diverse subjects like crafting, 3D printing, boating safety, archaeology, and STEM. The library also hosted book discussions and children’s programs and featured appearances by prominent experts and authors.

Recognizing the importance of outreach, the library’s staff actively participated in 125 community events, reaching over 8,000 community members. St. Mary’s County Library also provided free meeting rooms for 1,855 groups and study rooms for 4,741 individuals or groups, fostering collaboration and study opportunities within the community.

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One notable achievement in FY2023 was the launch of the Makerspace at Leonardtown Library. Since its inception, the Makerspace has attracted 1,182 visitors using equipment such as the Cricut Maker, 3D printer, large format printer, and 3D pens. This dedicated creative space has become a hub for innovation and hands-on learning.

The library’s computer services remained in high demand throughout the year, with nearly 38,000 sessions logged. Additionally, the library’s free WiFi was accessed close to 20,000 times, highlighting the importance of digital connectivity in today’s society.

St. Mary’s County Library values partnerships and collaborations, greatly enhancing its ability to serve the community effectively. In FY2023, the library joined various organizations to offer new initiatives. Blue Star Families partnered with the library to establish the START Family Book Club, specifically catering to military families. The St. Mary’s County Arts Council generously funded the creation of a brand-new art gallery at Leonardtown Library while also refurbishing the Lexington Park Library Art Gallery. The Friends of St. Clements Bay completed the stunning Front Yard Garden at Leonardtown Library, providing a tranquil outdoor space for visitors.

Furthermore, in collaboration with the St. Mary’s County Health Department and Healthy St. Mary’s Partnership, the library opened Telehealth Booths at Charlotte Hall and Lexington Park Libraries. These booths offer private spaces for individuals or small groups to engage in virtual health consultations and provide quiet work areas or areas for making phone calls. The library also benefited from the support of The Patuxent Partnership, which sponsored two Citizen Science workshops, further fostering engagement with scientific exploration.

As St. Mary’s County Library reflects on its accomplishments in FY2023, it remains committed to providing excellent resources, programs, and services to the community. With a dedicated staff, thriving partnerships, and a strong commitment to innovation, the library is well-positioned to continue serving as a cornerstone of knowledge and community connection in the years to come.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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