Push to make Loch Raven branch a full-service library

Councilman David Marks wrote a letter Jan. 28 to the county library director urging him to raise the Loch Raven Library to full-service status by adding staff and extending its hours.

But while Baltimore County Library Director Jim Fish called the expansion of services a priority, Fish said the request "might be a little too soon" to accommodate the plea.

"It's clear that the users of the Loch Raven Library, and the Friends (of the Loch Raven Library) and Councilman Marks would like to see some strengthening of service, adding some staff so we can get more hours and be able to do more things," Fish said.

"It's a matter of availability of resources, and right now we have a short-term overage in terms of staffing," he said. "It'll take us a little while, I think, to make something work better for Loch Raven, but it's a priority for us and I think for everyone else."

The Loch Raven Library, located at 1046 Taylor Ave. in Towson, is currently open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, and 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, according to the library's website.

Fish said it's the only library in the system not open four nights a week.

"I just think that residents in the Loch Raven area should have the same access to a library as all other citizens of Baltimore County," Marks, who represents the 5th District including Towson, said in an interview last week.

In his letter, Marks wrote that giving the library full-service status "has long been a priority for neighborhoods that surround the library, including Hillendale, Hillendale Park, Knettishall, Loch Raven Village and Ridgeleigh."

Marks said in his letter that Councilwoman Cathy Bevins, whose 6th District now extends into portions of Parkville and Towson, also supports expanding the library's services.

Fish said it "might be a little too soon" to expect longer hours and more staff to be provided from the upcoming county budget, but said the library system is looking at its staffing allocation to see if any short-term fixes are available.

"(Councilman Marks) understands the importance of libraries and what they can do for the community, as do I," Fish said. "We're just going to see what happens in the next could of months and see if we can stretch out some of the resources we have at this point."

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