BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced the restoration of funding for the Enoch Pratt Free Library system.
Gigi Barnett explains the impact this decision will have on all neighborhood library branches.
This week is National Library Week. It is a chance for cities around the nation to recognize its libraries. For Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt Free Library, there is another reason to celebrate.
The Forest Park library is one of the oldest branches in Baltimore. This year it is 100. But its hours and services were on the chopping block as a way to save cash until Wednesday morning when Mayor Rawlings-Blake decided otherwise.
“We are just too excited to restore the funding for the Pratt library, a million dollars,” said Dr. Carla Hayden, library executive director.
The extra cash should make up the $1 million shortfall from the state. It comes at a time when more than 2 million people visited the library in the last year. The library’s executive director says that’s because of its free services.
“Many children in the city don’t have computers at home, so they come to us after school to do their homework. There are seniors in this city who need to learn how to use the computers and want to learn, and this is the only place where so many people can get help,” Hayden said.
A cut in branch hours would’ve meant less library time and fewer books for Muriel Wilmore. Her message to the mayor is clear.
“I would tell her kudos to her for changing it and not taking the money away from our library,” Wilmore said.
The library says another reason why this money matters is because the Enoch Pratt Free Library system is the oldest in the nation, and that $1 million keeps it running for another year.
The money will also help complete renovations at the Reisterstown Road and Edmonson Avenue branches.