A $20,000 grant soon will enable patrons of Baltimore County's Catonsville library to return materials 24 hours a day.
The grant, from the county Office of Community Conservation's operational buildings fund, will be used to build a "return room" where borrowers will be able to slip books, and video and audio materials through return slots.
The room would make Catonsville the only branch in the county public library system with round-the-clock return capability, officials said.
"It will be the first time readers can return books at their convenience, anytime," said Beth Babikow, chief of administrative services for the library system. "We do hope to be able to at some point add these book returns to various locations."
Materials placed through the slots after the due date will not escape fines because they will be checked later through the library's computer system, Babikow said. But officials hope that the new convenience will decrease the incidence of late returns.
Babikow said construction of the room is to begin next month.
County Councilman Stephen G. Sam Moxley, a Catonsville Democrat, said he pushed for the facility to ease traffic problems.
"The branch has very limited parking, and the library is getting more readers," Moxley said. "The book drop would help to significantly decrease the amount of traffic surrounding the library."
Catonsville manager Fran Ware said the library has 33 parking spaces and circulates more than a million items a year, including books, magazines and audio and video cassettes. On an average day, about 2,000 people check out or return materials, she said.
Pub Date: 5/23/96