Maryland's Howard County Library System has been named 2013 Library of the Year by Gale and Library Journal. The prize is $10,000 and a reception at ALA. HCLS is comprised of six branch libraries serving a population of more than 280,000 residents, of which 90% have – and use – their library card. Usage is up - in the past decade, items borrowed from HCLS branches doubled to 7.1 million (the highest borrowing per capita in Maryland), as did research assistance interactions with HCLS instructors (2 million), while physical visits tripled to 3 million along with virtual visits (6 million) and class and event attendance (more than a quarter of a million).
Kristina Massari of Cengage Learning, parent company of Gale, said, "What truly sets HCLS apart is its standing as an educational institution. An allied agency similar to the school system and community college, its mission is to deliver high quality public education for everyone."