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Our Story: About the Village Learning Place

The Village Learning Place is an independent non-profit library that houses educational programs, enrichment opportunities, and informational resources for Charles Village and throughout Baltimore City. It is our belief that libraries are not only a repository for books, but also serve as community centers focused on the personal and professional growth of their patrons.

The old and the new together: 2521 and 2510 St. Paul Street

Our Mission

The mission of the Village Learning Place is to promote literacy, cultural awareness, and lifelong learning through access for all ages to information, resources, and educational programs.

The Village Learning Place’s vision is to be a model library, a leader in providing high-quality educational programs, enrichment opportunities, and informational resources in Charles Village and throughout Baltimore City. The Village Learning Place will strengthen the surrounding neighborhood by serving as an anchoring institution, a symbol of local pride, and a gathering place for a diverse community. We promote a learning-oriented culture that is friendly, welcoming, and supportive of the success and well-being of every person.

Our Core Principles

The Village Learning Place strives to integrate its core principles, commitment, compassion, honesty, and patience, into every level of its operations and throughout each program and service it offers.

Our Buildings

2521 St. Paul- The beautiful Victorian brick building in which the Village Learning Place is housed was one of the original six branches of Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt Free Library, designed by Enoch Pratt and built in 1896. It is now a physical embodiment of community endeavor and neighborhood pride.

When the Pratt Library closed its Charles Village branch in 1997, residents rallied, restored the building with volunteer hours, and created the Village Learning Place to fill the neighborhood’s need for accessible resources of all kinds. Since this grassroots inception, the Village Learning Place has directly responded to the needs and desires of its community, and its staff and board members are attuned to the changing requirements of its very diverse patrons. The original building at 2521 St. Paul Street houses the Village Learning Place’s Library and computer lab, and it serves as the location for much community programming.

2510 St. Paul- In an economic climate where many doors are closing, the Village Learning Place is excited to be opening new doors! In 2011, the Village Learning Place began its second decade of serving the friends and neighbors of the Charles Village community. Much growth happened in the Village Learning Place’’s first ten years, and there was great need for additional space to meet the demands of constantly expanding programs and services.

The Village Learning Place is opening new doors on the second floor of 2510 St. Paul Street, directly across the street from its original 2521 St. Paul Street historic building; an opening is planned for September of 2011. The new space houses permanent classrooms for the Let’s Invest in Neighborhood Kids (LINK) after school and summer programs, community rental space, a reading resource room, and additional staff office space.

Our Recognitions

In 2007, the Village Learning Place was named as one of the nation’s select 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) through the Maryland State Department of Education. This competitive, three-year federal grant has allowed us to launch a community-wide initiative, called Let’s Invest in Neighborhood Kids (LINK).

In 2008, Charles Village was named one of the 10 Great Neighborhoods in America by the American Planning Association, which cited the neighborhood’s “strong and dedicated activist community, economic and social diversity, and memorable character” in its award. The Village Learning Place is proud to call Charles Village home and to partner with its neighbors in building and maintaining a strong community.

In 2010, the Village Learning Place’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant was renewed for three more years, a recognition of outstanding growth since 2007 and a vote of confidence in our future. With this support, we are able to expand our LINK program to serve preschool and high school students, providing “cradle to gown” programs for our kids.

Please click here to access the Village Learning Place’s fiscal year 2014 financial audit.

 

Protesting the closure of Pratt Branch No. 6

Community activists demonstrate in support of their community library, 1997. Many of the same activists are Village Learning Place volunteers, supporters, and program participants today.