Libraries have been important to the community of Catonsville for over a century. In the late 1800s, Library Hall on Frederick Road opposite Egges Lane provided a small book collection, with separate reading rooms for men and women. But it was not free; books were rented for a few cents a day.
In the 1930s need for a free public library was recognized. In 1941 the Catonsville Library Association, Inc., was formed. To fund the library, volunteers went door to door soliciting $1 from local residents. Donations of books and magazines were welcomed.
On July 1, 1941, the Catonsville Free Public Library opened its doors in a rented building on Frederick Road. By 1945 the book collection numbered 3,625 volumes for adults and 1,276 for children, plus newspapers and periodicals. There was also a branch library at the Banneker School.
The busy library soon outgrew its rented quarters. In 1945 the library association purchased a small brick building at 927 Frederick Road, where library service thrived, breaking previous daily circulation records.
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