Welcome to the very best in education!
At Howard County Library System (HCLS), we are here for you! Whether we see you in our branches or out in the community, our goal is to meet you where you are and give you the resources you need. A vital component of Howard County’s renowned education system, HCLS delivers high-quality public education for all.
- Ranked among the nation’s great public library systems, we were honored to be selected as Library of the Year in 2013 by Gale/Library Journal . HCLS was selected from among the 21,000 public and academic libraries in North America .
- 2022 Annual Report
- 2022 Financial Audit Report
- 2023 Financial Audio Report
- Strategic Plan: Vision 2020–Education For All
- HCLS Master Plan (update 11/2019)
The Columbia Downtown Plan, approved by the County Council in 2010 and updated in 2018, called for the demolition of the existing Central Branch as part of the revitalization and redevelopment of Downtown Columbia. The plan originally called for the replacement library to be built in the Crescent Neighborhood (now known as the Merriweather District). As time has passed, the Library had the opportunity to move the new library to the new Lakefront District, on the parking lot next to Whole Foods. The new library will include a parking garage. Learn More
What sets HCLS apart?
We earned the position as best library system in North America for who we are, what we do, and how we do it—most notably, our:
- Extraordinary team
- Distinctive sense of purpose: high-quality public education for all.
- Award-winning classes and events.
- exceptional customer service.
- Strong support from the HCLS Board of Trustees, Howard County Government, State Delegation, Friends and Foundation of HCLS, philanthropic partners, volunteers, and our community.
An allied agency similar to the school system and community college, HCLS delivers high-quality public education for everyone. Mission: We deliver high-quality public education for all ages.
Vision: A vital component of Howard County’s renowned education system, we deliver excellence in education for everyone, advancing the economy and quality of life.
Branches: HCLS has six branches: Central Branch, East Columbia Branch, Elkridge Branch + DIY Center, Glenwood Branch + Makerspace, Miller Branch + Historical Center, and Savage Branch + STEM Center.
Board of Trustees: HCLS is governed by a seven-member, policy-making Board of Trustees. The HCLS Board recommends Trustee nominees to the County Executive, who appoints the Trustees with County Council approval.
Who We Are
More than 250 staff members serve our community. This team selects our collection of materials in a wide variety of formats; provides research assistance; teaches classes, seminars and workshops for everyone from birth to senior citizens; and produces signature events throughout the year.