Foundation Launches Memorial Scholarship

January 25, 2023

Foundation for Baltimore County Public Library is proud to recognize long-time BCPL director Charles Robinson by launching the Charlie Robinson Endowed Master of Library Science (MLS) Memorial Scholarship. This renewable annual scholarship supports one Maryland resident pursuing a MLS or MLIS. The student must plan to work in a public library upon degree completion.

Mr. Robinson was the director of Baltimore County Public Library for more than 30 years. His philosophy of “give ‘em what they want” was groundbreaking in the public library landscape, and prevails today. Mr. Robinson’s son, Hugh, said:

“Dad was a mentor to so many men and women who chose public library science as a career, including my sister. Of course, if you knew Dad, he would be all snark and bluster if he had to talk about his accomplishments and place of honor in the profession! Deep down, however, he would be very pleased to know that his legacy will continue with new, deserving Maryland librarians. Many thanks to the Foundation for the Baltimore County Public library for creating the Charlie Robinson Endowed Master of Library Science (MLS) Memorial Scholarship.”

Mr. Robinson began his professional career in 1953 at the Free Library of Philadelphia before moving to Baltimore County where he joined the staff of the Baltimore County Public Library as the assistant county librarian on January 12, 1959. When Director Richard D. Minnich died suddenly in 1963, the Board of Library Trustees named Mr. Robinson the director. Thus began a 33-year era of innovative, progressive and inspired leadership that moved Baltimore County Public Library to the forefront of public library service in the nation. He oversaw the openings of nine branches, as well as several mini-libraries. Mr. Robinson forever changed the library world with his revolutionary (and controversial at the time) theory of “give ’em what they want,” focusing on more popular titles that customers wanted to read. He is considered one of the most influential librarians of the 20th century.

If you’re interested in applying or learning more about this scholarship, please visit Central Scholarship’s website. Deadline to apply for the 2023-24 school year is March 15, 2023.