Kiosks expand Pratt's reach Library service: Computer station at Mondawmin Mall marks first expansion.

March 01, 1998

THE PRATT LIBRARY opens an information kiosk today at Mondawmin Mall. It's a tiny step in an expansion plan that might see the Pratt build four superbranches in quadrants of the city. But it's an important step.

The modern library isn't just a place to check out books; many people use its computers to access information electronically. The kiosk at Mondawmin (another will be placed later at the Inner Harbor) will provide access to the Pratt's various electronic data sites and government pages and others on the World Wide Web.

The Pratt's strategic plan announced last year includes placing kiosks in nontraditional locations such as malls to expand library service. But the plan would also close some branches while building larger regional facilities that may resemble popular megabookstores. A $3 million bond issue for a 30,000-square-foot branch in Southeast Baltimore will be voted on in November.

The Pratt's emphasis on electronic library service has been recognized by Microsoft boss Bill Gates, who last week announced the Baltimore library would receive one of his Urban Library Leadership Grants. The Pratt will use its $240,000 to reach families that cannot afford to buy personal computers and software. This will ensure that poor people aren't denied access to electronic information that could improve how they live and learn.

Pub Date: 3/01/98

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