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Posted on: July 3, 2020

Baldwin Library Overview of Services


Baldwin Public Library

Overview of Services 

The Baldwin Public Library offers a rich variety of services to the residents of its service area, which is defined as the City of Birmingham and all communities having contracts with Baldwin.  Baldwin’s contract communities are Beverly Hills, Bingham Farms and the City of Bloomfield Hills. 

Below is a sampling of Baldwin’s services that are available to the residents and businesses of the City of Bloomfield Hills:

  • Unlimited circulation of a wide array of print, non-print, and electronic materials:  140,000 books;  12,000 magazines and newspapers; 40,000 audiovisual materials (DVDs, CDs, video games, toys, puppets, etc.); 11,000 eBooks and downloadable audio books; and hundreds of thousands of downloadable pieces of music.
  • Special collections, such as the local history collection in the Harry Allen Room, 100 Picture Books to Read to Your Child Before Kindergarten, and the new 100 Essential Architecture Books collection—sponsored by the Michigan Architectural Foundation.
  • The use—both in the Library and from your home or office—of electronic databases, eBooks, downloadable audio books, electronic magazines, and downloadable music.
  • Baldwin has thousands of eBooks from bestselling authors available for reading on all major eReaders and mobile devices, including Kindles, iPads, iPhones, and Android devices.
  •  Baldwin provides access to dozens of popular magazines on tablets, computers and phones, including The Economist, US Weekly, Rolling Stone, and Martha Stewart Living
  • Baldwin offers free downloadable music from thousands of artists in the Sony catalog, available to keep and play on any MP3 player or computer
  • Among the Library’s databases that might be of special interest are Morningstar, Value Line, Standard & Poor’s NetAdvantage, Mango Languages, Consumer Reports,, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.  Individual subscriptions to these eight databases alone would cost well over $2,000/year.   An entire list of Baldwin’s several dozen databases is available at:
  • Free services to the homebound: readers’ advisory service and free delivery of materials to residents of Baldwin’s service area who are not physically able to visit the Library.
  • Reference service by professional librarians—in person, by telephone, and electronically—including services to the business community.
  • Readers’ advisory—i.e., reading recommendations. 
  • Library-sponsored book clubs, supported by multiple copies of popular titles.  These books, in various formats, are also available for checkout by book clubs not affiliated with the Library.
  • Support for schoolwork, including materials purchased to support the curriculum of local public and private schools.
  • School visits by Baldwin staff and national authors.
  • Support for home schooling, including a Teacher Resource collection.
  • Priority registration for youth, teen and adult programs, including the Summer Reading Program and Learning in Retirement.
  • Priority registration for computer classes.
  • Support for continuing education of all age groups—children, teens, adults and seniors. 
  • Delivery of the Library’s quarterly Learn.Connect.Discover newsletter to all addresses in the community.
  • Extended use of public computers in the Library.  This is especially helpful during power outages!
  • Wireless access in the Library for laptop computers and other mobile devices.

Interlibrary loan, including MeLCat (the Michigan Electronic Library Catalog) and OCLC (the Online Computer Library Center).  Interlibrary loan allows you to select from the tens of millions of items available at libraries throughout Michigan and the entire country and then to have them delivered at Baldwin for pickup. 

  • Reciprocal borrowing at approximately 70 other public libraries in southeast Michigan—primarily in Oakland and Wayne Counties.  Among these libraries are Troy, Rochester Hills, and West Bloomfield, but not the Bloomfield Township Public Library.  BTPL currently does not extend reciprocal borrowing privileges to any contract communities.  

Reduced rental rates for meeting rooms.  The Library offers inviting spaces appropriate for meetings, workshops, presentations, and social events.

The Library’s budgets for materials, programming, and technology are supplemented each year by over $40,000 in contributions from the Friends of the Baldwin Public Library and over $50,000 in earnings from the Library’s endowment.

A “reading center” in the Bloomfield Hills City Hall, which allows borrowing, on an honor basis, of hardcover and paperback books.

A book return box at the Bloomfield Hills City Hall. 

How much are people actually using public libraries in the 21st century? 

In the fiscal year ending June 2019, Baldwin’s users:

  • Checked out 504,000 items.
  • Borrowed 9,000 items through interlibrary loan.
  • Visited Baldwin 247,000 times.
  • Accessed Baldwin’s subscription databases 15,000 times.
  • Attended Library programs 41,000 times.  Attendance at children’s programs alone amounted to over 29,000.

Baldwin currently has a total of over 28,000 registered cardholders—including the residents of the Library’s service area as well as residents of communities that enjoy reciprocal borrowing privileges at Baldwin.  50% (17,300 people) of the residents in Baldwin’s current service area (Birmingham, Beverly Hills, Bingham Farms and Bloomfield Hills) possess library cards.  

How accessible is the Baldwin Library?

  • Baldwin is open 67 hours per week, including year-round Sunday service.
  • While the City of Birmingham charges for parking in the downtown area—where Baldwin is located—the first two hours of parking are free in the parking structure across the street from the Library.  And all parking in Birmingham is free on Sunday.
  • Right in front of the Library are two free five-minute parking zones for quick drop-offs and pick-ups, as well as two 30-minute parking zones for short-term business.
  • In addition, anyone with a vehicle displaying a handicap placard can park for free at any time at metered spots in downtown Birmingham.
  • Baldwin has a ramp leading to its front door on Merrill Street.
  • The Library offers both a walker and a wheelchair for the use of its patrons in the building.
  • The City of Birmingham provides excellent snow removal service, thus allowing the Library to remain open every single winter day during most years.

How does Baldwin communicate and cooperate with the City of Bloomfield Hills?

  • The City of Bloomfield Hills has a liaison to the Baldwin Public Library Board.  The liaison receives Library Board materials and attends Library Board meetings.
  • Baldwin provides Bloomfield Hills with regular statistical reports about the City’s usage of the Library’s materials, services, and programs.
  • Baldwin’s Director gives periodic reports to the Bloomfield Hills City Commission.
  • Baldwin solicits feedback from the City in order to provide Bloomfield Hills residents with the best possible service.
  • Baldwin participates in City events such as the Bloomfield Hills Public Safety Open House.

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