Please join special guests Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and President of Tech Logic Corporation, Gary Kirk, as they present our first annual People First Award to Enoch Pratt Free Library's Pennsylvania Avenue Branch in Baltimore at ALA San Francisco. The award will be presented on Friday, June 26, at 5:15 p.m., at the Moscone Center during the event's opening general session from 4-5:30 p.m., in the Esplanade Ballroom.
The Enoch Pratt Free Library was chosen to receive this very special award after demonstrating exemplary leadership during several days of riots, which were concentrated at the intersection of North and Pennsylvania Avenues.
On April 27, violence ensued after the funeral of Freddie Gray, an African American man who died in police custody earlier that month. As tensions increased and buildings surrounding the library burned, Enoch Pratt Library remained open, providing a safe haven for patrons inside.
"I did not feel threatened, but wanted people to know this was serious,"recalls Branch Manager Melanie Townsend-Diggs, who ultimately made the decision to stay open. "It's in my instinctive nature to keep people safe and calm," she says. "It's my responsibility to make sure that everybody stayed safe. I try not to be too proud, but I am definitely grateful."
Deborah Robertson, the library's teen and young adult library associate, believes the attention has had positive results. She says, "It's not just us, but the whole community [who have benefited]."
Tech Logic developed the People First Awards as a way of celebrating and publicly recognizing people who have done extraordinary things within their library's greater community by putting "People First." Nominations were collected throughout the year at events and online.