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Retired Librarian Leaves $475,000 To Enoch Pratt Free Library

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Philanthropy is an act that most institutions would welcome at any time. And in this economy, giving is really seen as a blessing. Yet, as Kai Jackson reports, a gift of nearly a half million dollars to the Pratt Library in Baltimore has nearly left its director speechless.

The Enoch Pratt Free Library is one of the oldest free libraries in the country. It provides books, media and valuable resources like job skills to thousands of Baltimoreans.

“This is the type of gift that Mr. Pratt would have endorsed and loved,” said Dr. Carla Hayden, CEO Pratt Library.

Now Hayden is beaming with excitement. A retired librarian in Baltimore County named Margaret Peterson left the Pratt $475,000.

“I know librarians in Baltimore County who worked with her, and she told them that her love of books and readings and the reason why she wanted to be a librarian is because of what happened when she grew up in Baltimore and visited the Pratt Library,” Hayden said.

Peterson was born and raised in West Baltimore. She worked for the Baltimore County Public Library for 23 years, yet grew up as a patron of the Pratt. She, along with her husband, amassed a substantial amount of money. Both passed away in 2006.

“We know that with her husband they invested wisely and they also were very concerned with leaving a legacy and making sure that they were able to give to others,” Hayden said.

As generous as Margaret Peterson’s gift to the Pratt Library is, amazingly, she left the same amount of money–$475,000– to the Baltimore County library system where she worked.

“Funds like this from Mrs. Peterson will allow us to continue to offer programs and have our doors open,” Hayden said.

Hayden says this fall the Pratt will start loaning out E-readers. The money donated will help support the use of this popular new technology.

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