The Southern Maryland Regional Library is a center for the delivery of information in Southern Maryland, providing leadership in automation and operating the tri-county circulation and online catalog system. This system, known as COSMOS (Collection of Southern Maryland’s Online Services) provides access to materials located in 11 public libraries and the regional library. Some of the other free electronic services provided by the regional library include:
- downloadable books and ebooks
- recommended reading lists
- a large collection of online research and information resources
- free online tutoring, language learning, and computer and business skills classes
Information services staff provide technical support and email accounts for partner library systems in the region. Since electronic access to information is rapidly changing library services, regional library staff are continually investigating technological advances that could further improve services to Southern Maryland.
Delivery of Information
The regional library operates a Monday-through-Friday delivery service which transports materials between all the public libraries and the two colleges in the area. It also functions as the access point for delivery of materials from the State Library Resource Center in Baltimore and electronic information through Sailor and other networks.
The regional library provides training for the staff of partner libraries in our state-of-the-art training facilities. Training is available in reference services, electronic reference, collection development, technology, youth services, management, supervision, leadership, customer service, marketing and many other areas. An expanding number of e-learning opportunities are also available.
The regional library also provides an orientation for all new library staff and trustees.
The regional library provides a center for interlibrary loan within the region. Customers seeking materials unavailable at their local libraries may request books, periodicals and information through this service. Customers also can return borrowed materials to any of the public library branches in the region, no matter where the materials originated.
The regional library participates in MARINA, the state’s interlibrary loan system. Regional library staff work closely with county library personnel to make this system available directly to customers.
Every year, more than 70,000 library items are bought by the Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s County library systems. Though library materials are selected and ordered by the individual county libraries, they must then be delivered to the regional library by various vendors to be cataloged and prepared for placement on library shelves. Newly processed materials are then shipped to each branch library via the delivery system run by the regional library.
Technical services staff members are responsible for maintaining the professional processing standards and the general upkeep of the online catalog. They also maintain the Maryland government documents collection and other special collections which are housed at the regional library.
The regional library provides marketing support to our partner county libraries to help promote library services and coordinate region-wide programs. The communications manager develops marketing plans and the necessary tools to implement those plans at the branch, county and regional level. The communications manager also represents regional libraries as needed at community events and other programs, providing displays, brochures, flyers and promotional materials.
The regional library also provides an online communications presence for partner libraries through an internal website available to all library staff throughout the region.
The regional library provides leadership and direction for public library efforts by developing relationships and building political partners within the region and the state. The director of the regional library serves on a broad variety of boards and committees, making sure the interests of public libraries are known and understood by those in public service whose decisions impact the public library and their customers.