Pratt Library receives gift of $1 million anonymously

August 16, 2006

The Enoch Pratt Free Library has received a $1 million gift from an anonymous donor that will be used to update facilities and services at the system's 21 branches.

The gift was the third million-dollar donation to the city's public library system since 2001, when Baltimore philanthropists Eddie and Sylvia Brown awarded that amount to endow the Pratt's 13,000-piece African-American collection.

"Donations of this magnitude are essential as we work to assist our customers with the challenges of the 21st century and beyond," Sandra P. Gohn, chairwoman of the library's board of trustees, said in a statement yesterday.

From 1997 to 2001, seven libraries in the system closed. But the recent large-scale donations and city funds have allowed the system to update old properties and plan for new ones.

In 2004, voters approved a $2.6 million loan for the library system to renovate its branches.

In March, Mayor Martin O'Malley's proposed city budget set aside $470,000 to staff the new Southeast Anchor Library, an 80,000-volume branch expected to open next year at Conkling Street and Eastern Avenue. The $11 million library will have a new computer lab, a cafe and a drive-through window.

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