Baltimore's librarians proudly announced that all library locations, including those at the epicenter of the riots, are welcoming patrons today.
All branches remain open and fully staffed in the wake of protests and riots that have scked the city.
Against a backdrop of a state of emergency and schools closed citywide Tuesday morning, the Enoch Pratt Free Library has chosen to stay open, providing a hub of comfort and community to all neighborhoods, including the ones most affected by the mayhem.
“It’s at times like this that the community needs us,” library Director of Communications Roswell Encina stated. “That’s what the library has always been there for, from crises like this to a recession to the aftermath of severe weather. The library has been there. It happened in Ferguson; it’s happening here.”
The reports of violence, looting, and coordinated gang activity began coming out of Baltimore Monday night, within hours of the funeral of Freddie Gray. Gray died last week from injuries he sustained while in police custody. The incident resulted in an outpouring of anger from protesters who point to his death as the latest in an epidemic of police violence against unarmed black men.
The Pratt had received an outpouring of support on Twitter early Tuesday morning, with users from all over the city and the U.S. lauding the decision to keep the doors open.
Encina expressed hope that today would mark the turnaround for Baltimore, as the focus shifting to healing the community.