New Protector of Community's Jewels CARROLL COUNTY

August 11, 1993

Linda Mielke, the recently appointed director of Carroll County's library system, is a lucky librarian who is about to assume responsibility for a first-rate operation.

When she starts her new job next week, Ms. Mielke, previously an associate administrator for the Anne Arundel County Public Library, will inherit a system free of the budgetary and administrative problems that burden other metropolitan public libraries.

Many people -- from outgoing director Martha Makosky to the library board to the county commissioners -- are responsible for this happy state of affairs.

Ms. Makosky devoted 27 years to the county system. From a staff of 10 people overseeing a modest collection, she built a well-used, five-branch, 200-employee network with extensive book, periodical, recording and video collections. In fact, Carroll's facilities attract considerable numbers of borrowers from neighboring counties with inferior systems.

Thanks to Ms. Makosky's foresight, the Carroll libraries are well-positioned to take advantage of emerging information technology and the developing fiber optic "information superhighway." While Ms. Makosky will be missed, she has left an indelible imprint on the local library system.

Over the years, the library Board of Trustees strongly supported Ms. Makosky's vision. The board demanded first-class buildings and collections, and the public has benefited from that insistence on quality.

The board has also resisted efforts by certain members of the community to remove books and publications from its shelves. The board has clearly understood its mission in a democratic society: To create a resource that has accessible and relevant information, that serves a wide range of interests and tastes, and that ultimately provides materials to educate and entertain county citizens.

Carroll's commissioners have also played a key role. They have been careful not to starve the system. While county budgets of the past three years have pinched the system, the commissioners have not pressured administrators to close branches or reduce hours as cost-cutting measures.

Carroll's libraries are indeed community jewels. We know Ms. Mielke will soon cherish them as much as we do.

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