Friday, November 2, 2007

Places to Go, People to See

I really didn't know what I was going to recommend until I sat down to write this piece just now. Then it came to me, often overlooked in today's world of Internet and other media, the library. Baltimore has one of the oldest library systems in the country, the Enoch Pratt Free Library.

Established in 1882, the library was opened to the public in 1886. The founder of the library, Enoch Pratt, stated "My library shall be for all, rich and poor without distinction of race or color, who, when properly accredited, can take out the books if they will handle them carefully and return them."

The library opened to the public in 1886. The first location of the central library was on Mulberry Street. Also that same year, the first ever branch library was built in Canton and is still in operation in it's original location to this day.

On October 15, 1886 the library issued a borrowers card to Harry S. Cummings, the first African American to receive an Enoch Pratt Library card.

In the 1940's the library started a horse drawn book wagon that traveled throughout the city getting free books to people who may otherwise never get to the library. This eventually evolved into the bookmobile which is still in operation this day.

Today the central library is located at 400 Cathedral Street. The current building was erected in the 1930's with an expansion done just a few years ago. It boasts an H.L. Mencken collection which contains many of his personal correspondence. Unfortunately, that room is only open to the public one day a year, the Saturday in September which falls closest to his birthday on the 12th. The library is fantastic, it makes you want to read again. I feel my IQ increase just by walking through the enormous doors.

1 comment:

NJG said...

Been meaning to visit and to become a member since I moved to Balmer a year ago...this has inspired me to get off my ass and do it. Thanksm