Jim Fish

Jim H. Fish, director of Baltimore County Public Libraries, said Wednesday he will retire in June 2014. (File Photo / September 18, 2013)

The long-time director of the Baltimore County library system plans to retire next June, he announced Wednesday.

James H. Fish has directed the 19-branch system since 1996. Library officials say his accomplishments include expanding hours, opening new facilities, introducing e-books and creating the Storyville "learning villages" for babies and young children.

The library board of trustees plans to conduct a national search to replace Fish. In a statement, Fish said he approaches his retirement with mixed emotions.

"I will miss working with such a dedicated and enthusiastic staff that has accomplished great things in times of great technological change and, in some years, fiscal challenges," said Fish, 66. "At the same time, I look forward to new adventures that will come with retirement."

A Massachusetts native, Fish directed libraries there before becoming state librarian of the Massachusetts State Library. He also served as city librarian of the public library system in San Jose, Calif.