Towson Library

Founded in 1936 by the Woman’s Club of Towson, the Towson Library began as a volunteer organization operating out of the home of the first librarian, Mary Osborne Odell. It grew quickly during her 16-year tenure. This building was built in 1974 during the Charlie Robinson era. Under Mr. Robinson, the library gained international prominence for its “give them what they want” philosophy of circulation (in short, providing books people want to read rather than books that librarians think the people should read).

The building is an interesting example of the Brutalist style of architecture and attracted attention for its innovative design. The building was in the news again in 2020 when the Towson Chamber of Commerce commissioned nationally known muralist Ryan Adams to create a mural on its facade. Each panel has a hidden word (explore, learn, create, connect, read, grow). Can you see them?

The east side of the library in 1974 prior to the garage construction. Your view is from the west side and shows the mural. Photo courtesy of Baltimore County Public Library collection.

Towson Library
Towson Library

Take the next left (west) on Chesapeake Avenue, traveling one block to the intersection of Washington Avenue. On your left is the Armory building, with a marker. Also note the old police station across the street, now converted into apartments. It is worth a moment to cross Washington Avenue to look in the Post Office and admire the wonderful murals.

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