Library prepares to celebrate centennial

July 30, 1997


Staff Writer

Washington County Free Library will celebrate the centennial anniversary of its charter by emphasizing literacy in the community, the library's director said Tuesday.

That means making sure community members not only can read, but are technologically literate, said Director Mary Baykan.

"The library's mission is to make sure no one is information-poor because they don't have the technology readily accessible to them," said Baykan in her office at the 100 S. Potomac St. library.

Next year, several programs at the library will stress the importance of reading and being able to communicate technologically so patrons have marketable skills, she said.


"The library is very much continuing its history and tradition of bringing information to the community," she said.

Under the directorship of Mary Titcomb, Washington County's library had the first bookmobile in 1905 - a horse-drawn book wagon.

Titcomb also opened library branches throughout the county, making Washington County one of the first rural areas to do so, Baykan said.

The library in 1898 became the first chartered county library in the nation, but didn't open its doors until 1901, Baykan said.

A county library in Ohio opened earlier.

To celebrate the centennial anniversary, the library will host lectures and author luncheons throughout 1998, she said.

Several historical items about the library that were found in storage are being organized for display next year, including pictures of the book wagon, Baykan said.

A new $250,000 World Wide Web-based card catalog system that will allow patrons to search for books using a graphical rather than text-based Internet interface is expected to be ready in late winter, Baykan said.

It will allow patrons to use a computer mouse to point and click on images that will bring to the screen the requested information.

Also, some technologically oriented services will be opened at the library. Baykan would not specify what they would be.

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