Hot Summer Reads

Recommended by Will Johnson, Northwood Branch Manager

Click the cover to reserve your copy now at the Pratt Library!



After I’m Gone by Laura Lippman

Baltimore favorite, Laura Lippman’s page turner “After I’m Gone” is the addictive story that explores how one man’s disappearance echoes through the lives of the wife, mistress and daughters he left behind.







The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

This classic adventure story is the tale of Edmond Dantès– thrown in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Dantès learns of a treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo.  There, the revenge plot begins.







Original Gangsta’s: The Untold Story of Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Tupac Shakur, and the birth of West Coast Rap by Ben Westhoff

A monumental, revealing narrative about the artists at the forefront of West Coast hip hop.


Have You Checked Out Digital Maryland?

Digital Maryland offers a unique and rich array of materials that speak to the distinctive history of the state, the Chesapeake region, and its people, as well as to national history and culture. Explore the development of the nation’s earliest railroads through the B&O Railroad Museum collection, dive into the life and letters of one of American literature’s most intriguing writers with Enoch Pratt Free Library’s Edgar Allan Poe collection, and learn how women took charge of Maryland’s farms during World War I in Montgomery County Historical Society’s Woman’s Land Army of America collection–and that’s just a preview!

You will also find new materials to support your next research project, such as resources on African American life in Maryland, nineteenth-century diaries and personal correspondence, photographs documenting everyday life on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and critical documents that help reveal the lives of enslaved people and families in the decades before the Civil War.

The Digital Maryland collection is now being shared with the Digital Library of America.

Start exploring today!


Reflections on the Power of Storytelling

by Karen Burdnell, Clifton Branch Manager

I wonder if the folks who planned the Maryland State Library Resource Center Storytelling Conference knew how well the day would flow? The pieces all fit in so succinctly.

The keynote speaker, Ann Sheldon, librarian at Grace Episcopal Day School in Kensington, formerly of the DC Public Library, spoke about literary/bardic storytelling.  In this traditional form of storytelling, the literary narrative is memorized and recited. The practice is the epitome of paying tribute to the author’s lyricism and stylized language, and it preserves the story narrative.  Ann discovered her love of this type of storytelling as part of her training as a children’s librarian.

I shared how I was drawn into the study of storytelling at the graduate program at East Tennessee State University. There, I studied the history and psychology of storytelling, including some of the justification for including storytelling as an academic scholarly study, which can stand on its own merit in the academic community. I pointed out how storytelling is used actively in the fields of marketing, health and education.

We toured our very gracious host facility, the Maryland Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Then, we heard from Jake Hutton of Harford County Public Library. He explained how he is able to make his library more inclusive to people in the community, especially children and teens that have special needs. His own mission was galvanized by his experience as a member of an ever-increasing family who continually reached out and embraced children with special needs.

The final speaker, S. “Bunjo” Butler of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, related how he and the members of the Griots’ Circle of Maryland have devised a literary-based program which teaches youth about their history and culture and how to do research to create stories. The students then perform in the oral tradition in public venues. This program has been successfully conducted at the Walbrook Branch of the Pratt Library for 9 years.

What was the common thread I saw for this conference? It was the power of personal storytelling. Four storytellers used their personal stories to exhort and motivate our audience to look at storytelling as a means to engage the public. Four storytellers used their personal stories to offer best practices on ways to provide excellent service to our customers.  Four storytellers used their personal stories to challenge colleagues to recognize their own Call to Adventure and step out on their own Hero’s Journeys.