The Howard County Library System has always been decent, but the last few years of renovations have taken things to a new level. What do you love about our library system? Comment below. 

3. DIY Center | Elkridge

“Honey, when you swing by the library be sure to pick up the aerator and cultivator” photo credit:

Did you know you could check out handyman tools at your local library? Or a sewing machine. How about a cake decorating turntable? Yep! Elkridge’s new and DIY Center has tools for household repair, gardening, cooking/baking items, and bike maintenance.

It doesn’t stop with checking out a miter saw as easy as a book. The Elkridge Branch has launched adult classes hosted in their new DIY Ed Studio. This is a mess-friendly classroom and workspace. 

You do need a separate library card, but my wife has already tried it out. She was able to get a new card, get some baking pans and get out of there in 10 minutes. There are some more good ones on this list, but the DIY center takes the cake!

More details at

2. 3D Printing

Our library system has Lulzbot 3D printers for patrons to use. The beauty of this is that you can design your masterpiece at home and connect to the 3D printers online to upload designs. There are also classes on 3D printing. If this doesn’t scream Daddy project, I don’t know what does. 

Some of the details:

  • You have to pay for the materials used to print your design ($0.29 per gram of filament)
  • There are classes on 3D printing provided at the library
  • Size is limited to 289mm x 266mm x 249mm
  • Recommended design software: Blender, FreeCAD, & OpenSCAD

More details at

3. VR Lab & HiTech Classes

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HiTech is HCLS’ education initiative for teens and adults that teaches cutting-edge STEM skills in project-based classes. There are two segments of HiTech teens (ages 11 to 18) and adults (18+).

One of the most interesting is the Virtual Reality Lab at the Columbia East Branch. These classes allow patrons to use the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality platform to explore worlds. See more about Virtual Experience classes here.

Other Class Projects:

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4. Check Out Toysparachute for kids play

There are a lot of toys available at the library. Many of which aren’t worth carrying back to the car. But don’t you fret, there are some gems.

Kids Play Parachutes

Remember those huge parachutes we had in elementary school gym class? Well, you can check those out at the library for free. How do you see that and just keep walking?

Launchpad Tablets

You can check out Launchpad learning tablets. Though I’ve never tried one, they seem like a great pickup for a long road trip or to keep the kids learning through the summer. launchpad

Playaway Launchpad learning tablets provide children ages three to ten with hours of educational, fun, interactive learning. They are ready to play and available for you and your child at HCLS.

Playaway Launchpad tablets are pre-loaded with high-quality, ad-free learning apps and games that have been selected by childhood education experts. Launchpads are 100% secure and ensure that children will not be exposed to unintended content. Plus, the amount of playing time on the tablet can be monitored.

5. The Enchanted Garden | MillerEnchanted Garden

The Miller Branch has a community-based garden that is great for picnic lunches outside. There are classes and clubs that work in the garden. With age ranges 6 to 15, there is plenty of gardening to go around.

Did you know the Enchanted Garden has Explorer Packs year round? You pick them up at the children’s desk and it sends you into the Enchanted Garden on an exhibition. 

More details at