The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has partnered with libraries in four counties to enable their patrons to borrow fishing gear free of charge.
The Aquatic Resources Education Program has provided five libraries in Anne Arundel, Carroll, Frederick and Harford counties with rods and reels, tackle, and fishing books, specifically geared toward children.
The following libraries are currently participating in the department program: Eastport-Annapolis Neck Community Library and Mountain Road Community Library in Anne Arundel County; Westminster Branch Library in Carroll County; Brunswick Branch Library in Frederick County; and Joppa Branch Library in Harford County.
“This program is an exciting new way to equip families with the tools and knowledge they need to enjoy a day of fishing in our cherished waterways,” Maryland Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton said. “By engaging the next generation of anglers, we can foster a passion for outdoor recreation and sports, and cultivate an appreciation and love of nature that will last a lifetime.”
The success of a 2017 pilot program at Mountain Road Community Library in Anne Arundel County prompted the department to expand the program to four additional libraries, which are all in close proximity to public fishing areas. These libraries have partnered with local fishing clubs and enthusiasts to ensure proper inventory levels and maintenance of the equipment.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Sport Fish Restoration Program helped fund the innovative program.