The Berks County Public Libraries (BCPL) serves as both a cooperative agreement between multiple public libraries in the county and a physical location where system headquarters staff aid in strengthening the Berks County community by providing centralized support for the member libraries and branches.
BCPL is a federated system of 19 member libraries and four branches located in Berks County serving 411,500 county residents across 866 square miles and 72 municipalities. The system is headed by a seven member at-large Advisory Board, appointed by the Board of Commissioners, and works in collaboration with member libraries to promote life-long learning and community engagement through resource collections, technology and programming.
Member libraries include Bernville, Bethel-Tulpehocken, Boone (Birdsboro), Boyertown, Brandywine (Topton), Exeter, Fleetwood, Hamburg, Kutztown, Mifflin (Shillington), Muhlenberg, Reading, Robesonia, Schuylkill Valley (Leesport), Sinking Spring, Spring Township/West Lawn, Village (Morgantown), Wernersville, and Womelsdorf.
Benefits of a Library System
By joining the Berks County Public Libraries system, member libraries have agreed to abide by established standards and guidelines and to share resources for the benefit of all county residents.
Whereas individually, library collections would be limited to what a library can hold within its walls, system libraries gain access to books and other materials and are available for anyone with a Berks County Public Libraries card to borrow. These items also quickly travel between libraries through the System’s van delivery service so patrons can pick up their holds where convenient for them.
In the 35 years since its creation in 1986, Berks County Public Libraries has been helping transform our communities through excellent library service.
Member libraries: 12
Population served: 305,946
Borrowed items: 470,900
Collection size: 364,989
Now: (2020 totals)
Member libraries: 19 and 4 branches
Population served: 411,442
Borrowed items: 1,508,727
Collection size: 933,532
Year of the Young Reader pt.1
National Library Week 1989 was proclaimed as "The Year of the Young Reader." The Library of Congress, Berks County Commissioners, and Mayor of Reading issued proclamations.
Year of the Young Reader pt.2
A countywide billboard campaign promoted the Year of the Young Reader theme. Six billboards were placed around the county.
Year of the Young Reader pt.3
A fence in Penn Square became a display for the Year of the Young Reader promotion, but gusty winds brought down part of the fence in May 1989.
When the BCPL System was created in 1986, only 47% of the county's population was within the service area of a public library. The bookmobile served the remaining 161,000.
Summer Reading Club
Library summer programming has a long-standing history with local public libraries. Photo: Hamburg Public Library 1987.
Berks County Public Libraries celebrate Literacy Day 1987.
Library System History
Follow a timeline of events for Berks County Public Libraries, beginning with its creation in 1986 to today. Notable items include the additions of member libraries, the highly successful Libraries Rock! campaign, and library response during COVID.
Berks County Public Libraries have evolved and adapted over the decades, meeting the needs of our communities and bringing resources closer to home. In 2021, the library system introduced EnChroma color blind glasses into the countywide collection, becoming the first institution in Pennsylvania to offer EnChroma color blind eye wear free for public use.
Limited Edition Anniversary Card
Add this limited edition Berks County Public Libraries Anniversary library card to your collection by going to your local library. Anyone who asks for a limited edition card will receive one for FREE! Anniversary cards are currently unavailable.