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Public Libraries and State Networking Branch (PLSNB)

The Public Libraries Branch within the Division of Library Development and Services was established in 1971, and in the early nineties became the Public Libraries and State Networking Branch (PLSNB). The branch is responsible for providing technical assistance and direction to improve public library services across the state.

Maryland State Library for the Blind and Print Disabled (LBPD)

LBPD is the Maryland regional library and operates under the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled of the Library of Congress. The library became operational in 1968 and serves approximately 8000 active print-disabled patrons (blind, low vision, physically disabled, and learning disabled). LBPH provides a full range of reading material in digital audiobooks, Braille, large print, descriptive video, newspapers, magazines by phone, and audio cassette. Many books, magazines, and newspapers are also available for download, including Maryland interest books recorded in the library’s own studio. Patrons also enjoy tactile materials (maps and atlases) and participate in book clubs and cultural and educational programs. The library has an interactive, multi-sensory children’s area. LBPH offers assistive technology training to its patrons and librarians across the State. The Maryland Accessible Textbook (MAT) program provides students in higher education programs with print reading disabilities with their required course textbooks in a converted format. Students are required to have a Memorandum of Agreement with the Disability Student Services at their Maryland college or university to qualify for services. The mission of the Maryland State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped is to provide comprehensive library services to eligible blind and physically handicapped Maryland State residents. Our vision is to provide innovative and quality services to meet the needs and expectations of our patrons.

As the state library agency for Maryland, the Maryland State Library administers State and Federal funds to support Maryland libraries in their mission to offer outstanding resources, programs, and excellent customer service. Responsibilities include oversight of the Maryland State Library for the Blind and Print Disabled; Maryland’s Public Libraries; the State Library Network; the Library Capital Grants Programs; and the Deaf Culture Digital Library.

Maryland State Library Network

PLSNB has oversight over the state library network, which is located at the State Library Resource Center (SLRC) at Enoch Pratt Free Library (EPFL) in Baltimore. DLDS (after July 1, MSL) contracts with EPFL to operate SLRC.

This network is responsible for assuring and providing Maryland residents with access to information not available at the local library level. Specifically, the network provides statewide online electronic information, interlibrary loans, direct lending of resources and materials, technical assistance, and staff training. Public, university, and community college libraries are part of this system and provide residents of Maryland with a wealth of information.

The State supports the funding for SLRC, including SAILOR and the state library network. The purpose of SLRC is to “provide and expand access to specialized library materials and services that are necessary for coordinated, efficient, and economical library services in this State.” SLRC provides a multitude of services to Marylanders and serves as a backup source of information for local libraries and customers. In addition, SLRC provides lending opportunities for libraries within the state library network. When information is not easily accessible, it assures access to information through the Maryland Interlibrary Loan Organization (MILO). SLRC also provides valuable information to State government employees through the Government Reference Service.

SLRC operates SAILOR, Maryland’s online electronic information network, and MARINA. MSL and SLRC are jointly responsible for connecting Maryland residents to information resources within the state and worldwide.

In addition, three regional libraries support the network. They are the Eastern Shore Regional Library, Inc. in Salisbury, the Southern Maryland Regional Library Association in Charlotte Hall, and the Western Maryland Regional Library in Hagerstown.

Completing the network are Maryland’s public library systems; elementary, middle, and secondary school media centers; college and university libraries; and state institutional libraries that serve the incarcerated and people with mental illness.

Deaf Culture Digital Library

In conjunction with Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL), DLDS/MSL has developed the Maryland Deaf Culture Digital Library (DCDL) a new statewide service. This library, one of the first of its kind in the nation, was established as the result of Maryland State legislation passed into law in 2014. MCPL was chosen to manage the library due to its existing services to the Deaf community, renowned throughout the State of Maryland and across the nation. The Maryland DCDL serves as a one-stop resource on deaf culture and deaf resources for library staff (public, academic, government), Maryland residents, college students, high school students, parents of deaf children, professionals who work with the Deaf Community, the Deaf Community, and its stakeholders. The website, a curated resource on deaf culture, deaf history, American Sign Language, and more, will be rolled out in the near future. The library is located at the Germantown branch of MCPL.