Brigadier General Charles E. McGee Library

The Brigadier General Charles E. McGee Library, formerly the Silver Spring Library, is part of the Montgomery County Public Libraries System. It opened to the public in 1931 and is currently located at 900 Wayne Avenue in Silver Spring, Maryland. The library is named for Charles E. McGee, a Tuskegee Airman who had lived in Montgomery County.

Brigadier General Charles E. McGee Library
The exterior of the library across Fenton St.
38°59′42″N 77°01′28″W / 38.9949°N 77.0245°W / 38.9949; -77.0245
Location900 Wayne Avenue,
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910, United States
TypePublic library
Established1931; 93 years ago (1931)
Branch ofMontgomery County Public Libraries
Access and use
Population served76,716
Other information
Budget$4 million
DirectorUzoma Onyemaechi (manager)[1]



Early locations


Silver Spring Library began service in 1931 at East Silver Spring Elementary School.[2]

In 1934, the library moved to Jesup Blair Community House, also known as "The Moorings."[3] Architect Howard Wright Cutler remodeled the building to serve as a library,[3][4] and his work earned the building a nomination for placement on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.[4] The library operated out of the Jesup Blair House for 23 years.

The 1957 Silver Spring Library building

Colesville Road (1957–2015)


The library opened a building of its own at 8901 Colesville Road in 1957, on land donated by the Hecht Company. At this location, the library occupied a building dedicated exclusively for the library's use for the first time.

Ellsworth Urban Park was created in an area covering 3.6 acres (1.5 ha) beside the library in 1979. The park has two playground areas where parents can take their children to play, and a tennis court.

In 1990, Marcia Billig's sculpture Lion and the Mouse was installed in the grass of the library.[5][6]

A celebration of 58 years of service was held on March 15, 2015, the last day of service at the Colesville Road location.[2]

Current location (2015–present)

The 2015 building from the corner of Wayne and Fenton

The current library location at 900 Wayne Avenue in Silver Spring was opened on June 20, 2015.[7] The facility was built for $64 million, including the acquisition of 1.46 acres (0.59 ha) of land, preparation of the site, design, construction, furniture, equipment and funds to improve the collection.[8] Construction was to cost $23 million, but $3 million was taken to renovate the Fillmore, a music venue nearby in downtown Silver Spring. The ground floor of the seven-story building has a coffee shop and a platform for the future Purple Line light rail station.[9] In 2022, the library was renamed for Brigadier General Charles E. McGee, a Tuskegee Airman who had lived in Montgomery County.[10][11]

  • 1st and 2nd floors: Drop-off window, cafe, county offices, meeting rooms, and artists studios.
  • 3rd floor: Customer service, movies, teen books, conference room, meeting rooms, Mac lab (teens), study rooms, pick-up area, drop off area.
  • 4th floor: Books, audiobooks, CDs, newspapers and magazines room, conference and study rooms, computer rooms.
  • 5th floor: Children's floor.



The library has a collection of 90,000 books, magazines, downloadable music, e-books, and a World Language Collection in Amharic, Chinese, French, Spanish, and Vietnamese, organized in the following way:

Teens collection (third floor)

  • Pick up holds section
  • DVD 7 days express
  • DVD TV series
  • Express DVD section
  • New fiction for children
  • Books for teens: Fiction, non fiction, graphic novels, manga.

Adults collection (fourth floor)

  • Reading books (with magazines and newspapers)
  • Audiobooks section
  • Shelves organized by Dewey Decimal classification (000 to 999)
  • World languages.
  • Biographies organized by subjects last name.
  • Fiction, new books large type fiction (by author's last name).
  • Non fiction (by author's last name).
  • Graphic novels
  • Mystery & new mystery
  • Romance
  • Librarians choice

Children collection (fifth floor)

  • Picture books
  • New picture books
  • Beginning readers
  • DVDs & Vox books (printed and audio books)
  • Braille books
  • Series books
  • Audio books
  • Fiction books for 2nd to 7th grade.
  • Children internet computers
  • Biographies & reference
  • Library center
  • World languages
  • Children internet computers.

Other resources


In 2016, the library also offered:


  • Library cards: Free for Montgomery County and D.C. area residents and students and are valid for 1 year. Money can be added to library cards to be used for printing of documents.
  • Each user can borrow up 100 books and magazines for 3 weeks, that can be renewed up to 3 times.
  • Each user can borrow up to 20 movies every week and most of them can be renewed up to 3 times.
  • Each user can borrow audiobooks and ebooks for up to 3 weeks.[12]
  • Each user can borrow e-books from 3M dispenser machines with 3M book readers and on-line using Overdrive and 3M applications for PC, Kindle tablets, Nook tablets, and so forth. e-books can also be downloaded to a computer, and using Adobe Digital Editions software, these books can be uploaded to classic versions of Kindle and Nook.[13][14][15][16]
  • Hold lockers where users can pick up 24/7 books that were reserved.
  • Drop off area available 24/7, where users can return books that were borrowed with. The use of RFID technology allow to return books to the system automatically.
  • Automated borrowing: Spots with RFID scanners were users can borrow books by themselves.
  • Mango Languages: Online language learning website for Montgomery County Public Libraries users.[17]
  • Muzzy Online: An interactive language learning website for children with animations and games, free for Montgomery County Public Libraries users.[18]
  • LibX toolbar: Allow to search from Montgomery County Public Libraries catalog from a toolbar on your web browser. Available for Firefox and Chrome.[19]

Study rooms


The library has 14 study rooms with space for up to 8 people. Study rooms can be reserved online every week, and can be used once a day for up to 2 hours every day.[20]

Printers and scanners


The library has four multi-function printers that can be used with a library card. Scanning of documents is free and can be stored via USB flash drives. Documents can be printed from any computer in the library and have a cost of 15 cents per black-and-white page and $1 per color page.



The library also has a free hotspot with up to 10 MiB/s of throughput for visitors with personal laptops, tablets or smartphones.

Online services and mobile applications


Montgomery County Public Libraries works with more than ten providers of online services and companies that offer desktop access but also developed their own applications for mobile devices such as tablets, cellphones (such as Android and iPhone), and Kindle that use its services.

Among the apps are the following:

  • BookMine:[21] An application to search on Montgomery County Public Library catalog that also can be used to manage Montgomery County Public Library card accounts. Available for iOS and Android.
  • 3M Cloud Library: Application to download e-books on EPUB format.[22][23] Available for iOS, Android and Android for Kindle.
  • OverDrive Media Console: Application to download e-books using Montgomery County Public Library accounts.[24][25][26] Available for iOS, Android, Android for Kindle, Blackberry. and Windows phone.
  • Freegal Music: Application to download 5 free songs every week.[27] Available for iOS, Android and Android for Kindle (via SlideMe).
  • Zinio: Free collection of more than 5,000 full color digital magazines.[28] Available for iOS, Android and Android for Kindle.
  • Flipster: Application to read free digital magazine provided from your library.[29]
  • OnceClickDigital: Application where can be downloaded audiobooks and e-books with MCPL library cards. Available for iOS, Android, Android for kindle.[30]
  • Mango Languages: An online language learning resource free for library users where can be learn more than 70 languages. Available for iOS, Android and Android for Kindle.
  • Reference USA for iPad: Search tool for business and residential information, used also for job searching.[31]
  • Access My Library: Tool that helps to look for libraries by market and distance, and also allow to search items on library catalogs, read biographies, articles, journals, etc.[32] Available for iOS and Android.
  • EBSCOhost: Tool that helps to search on libraries databases organizing them by date or relevance.[33] Available for iOS and Android.
  • LibriVox: Application where anyone can download audiobooks. Available for Android and iOS.[34][35]
  • Kanopy: It is an on-demand streaming video platform for public libraries and universities[36] that offers films and documentaries.[37] All the users have access to the Kanopy kids subdivision.

Courtesy charging stations


Three courtesy charging stations are available, with connectors, where visitors can charge cellphones and tablets.



The library follows Accessibility regulations:

See also



  1. ^ "Silver Spring Library". Montgomery County Public Libraries. Retrieved March 16, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Montgomery County Public Libraries' Silver Spring Branch will close March 15". Montgomery County, MD. February 24, 2015. Retrieved October 22, 2022.
  3. ^ a b McCoy, Jerry (2016-05-04). Historic Silver Spring (MD). Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0738541885.
  4. ^ a b Bosser, Diane (2005-11-28). "House of Blair". Insights. Retrieved September 24, 2016.
  5. ^ "Lion and the Mouse". Silver Spring Urban District. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  6. ^ "Marcia Billig". Marcia Billig. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  7. ^ "Silver Spring Library". Building Design and Construction. Rockville, MD: Montgomery County Department of General Services. Retrieved 2022-07-02.
  8. ^ a b "Silver Spring Library Fact Sheet" (PDF). Montgomery County Public Libraries. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
  9. ^ Izadi, Elahe (August 27, 2010). "New Silver Spring library $3M over budget". TBD Neighborhoods. Albritton Communications. Archived from the original on August 30, 2010.
  10. ^ Cremen, Alanea (February 25, 2022). "Silver Spring Library to be renamed after Tuskegee Airman Brig. Gen. Charles McGee". WUSA9 News. Retrieved March 17, 2022.
  11. ^ Schere, Dan (March 1, 2022). "Silver Spring Library Named in memory of Tuskegee Airman Charles McGee". Bethesda Magazine. Archived from the original on October 22, 2022. Retrieved October 22, 2022.
  12. ^ "Borrowing Library Materials". Montgomery County Maryland. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  13. ^ "Windows PC App Installation". Cloud Library. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  14. ^ "How to transfer eBooks to an eReader using Adobe Digital Editions". OverDrive. September 2, 2016. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  15. ^ "How do I get ebooks on my Nook?". Baltimore County Public Library. July 21, 2016. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  16. ^ "Downloading 3M Cloud Library eBooks for NOOK". eReady Richland (Richland County Public Library). Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  17. ^ "Mango Languages". Mango Languages. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  18. ^ "Muzzy Club". Muzzy Learning UK. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  19. ^ "LibX MCPL LibX Toolbar". Virginia Tech. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  20. ^ "Silver Spring Library Study Rooms". Montgomery County Public Libraries. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
  21. ^ "Bookmine". Google. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  22. ^ "3M Cloud Library". Google. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  23. ^ "3M Cloud Library". Apple. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  24. ^ "OverDrive". Google. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  25. ^ "OverDrive – Library eBooks and Audiobooks". Apple. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  26. ^ "OverDrive: Library eBooks & Audiobooks". Amazon. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  27. ^ "Freegal Music". Google. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  28. ^ "Zinio for Libraries". Google. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  29. ^ "Flipster – Digital Magazines". Google. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  30. ^ "OneClickdigital". Google. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  31. ^ "ReferenceUSA for iPad". Apple. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  32. ^ "Access My Library". Google. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  33. ^ "EBSCOhost". Google. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  34. ^ "LibriVox Audio Books Free". Google. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  35. ^ "LibriVox Audio Books". Apple. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  36. ^ "About Us". Kanopy.
  37. ^ "Kanopy Streaming Video". University of Oregon. Archived from the original on 2016-09-14. Retrieved 2016-07-21.