The Carroll County public library system, which will be celebrating American Library Week April 14 to 20, contains within its shelves treasures of services available to county residents.
Grant information, genealogical research services, literacy programs and a community services directory are among the programs developed over the past 10 years.
The library's Government and Funding Information Center -- designed to help non-profit organizations receive grant money -- has been in existence for about 1 1/2 years.
"We also help individuals get scholarships and research grants, but our focus is non-profit groups,"said Sharon Stephan, government information and funding specialist.
"Most grants are limited to groups that have received tax-exempt status," she said.
Among Stephan's duties are helping groups write grant proposals, helping them find foundations likely to give them money and publishing a newsletter every other week listing money available.
About a dozen organizations have received money through her help, including Human Services, Alternative Schools and the drug program at Carroll Community College, Stephan said.
Countians who wantto research their family can turn to genealogy services for information about regional history and church and cemetery records, said Janet Colburn, adult services specialist.
"More and more people are researching for medical reasons," she said. "Some people do it as an extension of their interest in history; others do it for membership in a society like the Daughters of the Confederacy or Daughters of the American Revolution."
The program, available since 1980, answers 600 to 800 questions a year by mail and from walk-in patrons, Colburn said.
"Requests seem to be seasonal," she said. "People often take this on as a retirement project and come from all parts of the country in the spring and early fall."
County literacy programs are coordinated through the Carroll County Literacy Providers, including the library system, Job Training Partnership Act programs, Carroll Community College, Adult Basic Education, the Department of Social Servicesand the Literacy Council, said Martha Makosky, library director.
"Our role is twofold: to provide the materials and the room, and working with the constituent groups," she said.
A combination of one-to-one tutoring, classroom and computer experiences serves about 800 county residents, said Emily Ferren, special services director.
"Basically, we work with someone with no skills up to someone in alternative education working for their graduate equivalency diploma," she said. "It runs the whole range."
Materials -- written on a beginning reading level -- cover topics of interest to adults, such as sportsand job searches.
The Community Services Directory, published once a year since 1986, lists about 1,080 area organizations that aid countians.
"The basis of the collection is the needs of the citizensof Carroll County," said Mary Bess Keeney, community information specialist.
Directories are $7.35 this year and can be mailed to patrons for $1 extra.
The information is also available through the Local Area Network computer system. Updated weekly, the computer-based directory is more current.
"They each have their own attributes," Keeney said.
While the printed directory is more convenient, the database can give a more complete search through the use of keywords, she said.
The library will also print mailing labels from the database for the cost of materials, Keeney said.
"The information is always free," she said. "Information is what the library is all about."