Starting Monday, the Enoch Pratt Free Library is extending hours at its Central Library four nights a week.
The Central Library at 400 Cathedral St. will now be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Before today, the Central Library closed at 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
Central Library hours on Friday and Saturday remain 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the building is closed on Sunday. The digital library is always open.
The extension makes the Central Library one of three locations in the Pratt system that are open until 8 p.m. from Monday through Thursday. The others are the Pennsylvania Avenue branch at 1531 W. North Ave. and the Southeast Anchor library at 3601 Eastern Ave.
Most Pratt locations are open until 8 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays, including the Brooklyn; Canton; Edmondson Avenue; Forest Park; Govans; Hamilton; Hampden; Herring Run; Light Street; Northwood; Orleans Street; Patterson Park; Reisterstown Road; Roland Park; Walbrook; Washington Village and Waverly branches. The Cherry Hill branch is open until 7 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays.
Meghan McCorkell, chief of marketing, communications and strategy for the Pratt, said the extended hours bring the Central Library in line with those of other branches in the system.
“The 8 p.m. closing time aligns more closely with our Southeast Anchor and Pennsylvania Avenue locations, which are open until 8 p.m. Monday to Thursday, and our neighborhood branches which stay open until 8 p.m.” two days a week, she said in an email message.
The extended hours don’t require more funds, McCorkell added.
“Prior to COVID, the Central Library was open for limited hours on Sunday afternoon,” she said. “Those were sparsely attended. So rather than go back to Sunday hours, we are extending nighttime hours. This does not require additional funding since we are merely reverting back to the same number of hours Central Library was open pre-COVID.”
The extended hours bring the Central Library back to the schedule it had three decades ago, McCorkell noted.
“Back in the 90’s the Pratt had more extensive hours, including nighttime hours,” she said. “In the 90’s, the library started reducing hours due to fiscal challenges, which eventually led to multiple branch closures in the early 2000’s.
“In 2018, thanks to funding from the Maryland General Assembly the Pratt increased hours by more than 30 percent across the system. So, these additional nighttime hours at Central just bring us back to that 30 percent increase level.”