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.

Our History

The VLP’s historic building was once Branch 6 of Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt Free Library, commissioned by philanthropist Pratt himself in 1896. It is now a physical embodiment of community endeavor and a symbol of neighborhood pride. When the Pratt Library closed the Charles Village branch in 1997, residents rallied, staged a funeral march, and lovingly restored the building. By community forum, they created the Village Learning Place to fill the neighborhood’s need for accessible resources. Since its grassroots inception, the VLP has directly responded to the needs of its very diverse community of patrons.

“The Village Learning Place (VLP) is one of my favorite nonprofit organizations in Baltimore. They are a critical resource, providing education and other types of support services and activities for children, adults and seniors. More importantly, they do so with flair!”

— Neighbor and long-time supporter of the VLP

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.

GuideStar, the world’s largest source of information on nonprofit organizations, has awarded us their Gold Seal of Transparency!

Our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Values

The Village Learning Place (VLP) values diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. We will live out our commitment to advancing these values through our mission as a nonprofit service provider, as an employer, and also as an active partner in creating healthy Baltimore communities. 

We recognize that history, experiences, and culture are real and relevant. Honoring and bridging different perspectives within the VLP is consistent with VLP values and necessary to our growth. We respect the voices and contributions of all community members. 

Our leaders support safe and open dialogue and create listening and learning opportunities for our VLP team and community partners. Through these opportunities, we address diversity, equity, and inclusion at a personal, organizational, and societal level. 

As part of our effort to establish and maintain equitable practices, VLP provides appropriate and inclusive paths of employment, engagement, compensation, professional growth, and leadership development. We believe this shapes and strengthens our organizational culture and adds value to our work environment and our community. 

VLP collectively works to identify and eliminate prejudice, bias, and other barriers to opportunity and belonging in our organization and neighborhood. VLP lends our voice in solidarity to movements confronting social injustice, working toward a community culture and structures where all can thrive. 

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 2018, 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.