National History Day #atthepratt!

By Amanda Hughes, Assistant Manager of the Maryland Department

The academic year is in full swing and all across the state hundreds of middle and high school students are beginning work on exciting year-long projects that will culminate in a national competition. National History Day is a historical original research competition that draws students from all 50 states plus many US territories to compete in College Park, and our hometown Maryland students always perform well. The local and statewide competitions are administered by the Maryland Humanities Council, who partner with libraries, archives and historical societies throughout Maryland to bring resources and materials to Maryland students. 

As you or your students begin work on this project, the Enoch Pratt Free Library is here to help. This year’s theme is Breaking Barriers in History and Pratt is here to help students with topics, research, sources, formatting and editing projects.  Many of our librarians serve as judges at the state and national competitions and we are always happy to share our insight.  At the Central Library, there is help and resources to be found in every department  and 1 – on – 1 appointments with librarians are available to both teachers and students.  Our librarians are always available to present our resources to classes and libraries throughout the state and classes are always welcome to come and see our collections in person! Research classes are also available at our neighborhood branches, with more dates to be added.

Visit for easy access to reference guides, digital resources, even digitized primary sources. All our resources are free, updated regularly, and vetted by our librarians so you know there is no fake news here!  And remember our Ask Us Now on-line reference service is available 24/7! We look forward to seeing you and all your amazing projects #AtThePratt! 

Support #eBooksForAll

The Enoch Pratt Free Library was founded on the principle that libraries “shall be for all, rich and poor without distinction of race or color.” Over 100 years later, that statement still stands. We at the Pratt believe in access for all so when that access feels like its being threatened, we feel compelled to let you know.  

One of our most popular materials, eBooks, may soon be harder for libraries to provide. Starting November 1, Macmillan Publishers will allow libraries to purchase only ONE copy of each new eBook title for the first EIGHT weeks after a book’s release.

The Pratt and libraries all across the country have the purpose of providing services, forms of entertainment and of course, spreading knowledge. Limiting the amount of eBooks we can purchase for those in our communities goes directly against that.

What does this mean for you?

It will be harder for the Pratt and other libraries to purchase new books for you to read. We’ll have fewer eBooks in our library so you will have to wait longer to read highly anticipated books. The embargo means that all of our 22 locations will have to share ONE eBook for the first 8 weeks.

What can you do?

Weigh into the conversation. The American Library Association has a petition going on here. Please consider signing it. Also, consider making you voice heard by using social media.

You can learn more about the #eBooksForAll campaign visit here and here.

Boo! Spooky Reads at the Pratt

Trick or Treat, Give me something good to eat read!

The summer heat is finally chilling off and autumn is here. That means something really exciting… Halloween is right around the corner. Celebrate the frighteningly fun day with one of these spooky and thrilling books. 

Cradle and All
By James Patterson
Read | Download | Listen
By Grady Hendrix
Read | Download
Meddling Kids
By Edgar Cantero
Read | Download
By Laurell K. Hamilton
Read | Download | Listen
Suspicious Minds: Stranger Things
By Gwenda Bond
Read | Listen
The Fifth Petal
By Brunonia Barry
Read | Download
The Institute
By Stephen King
Read | Download | Listen

The Kindred of Darkness
By Barbara Hambly
Read | Download
The Lost Girl
By R. L. Stine
Download the book
Truly Devious
By Maureen Johnson
Read | Download | Listen

By JoAnne Fluke
 Download the book
Witches of East End
By Melissa de la Cruz
Read | Download

Mental Health Day

By Lauren Read, Business, Science, & Technology Librarian

October is Health Literacy Month, and this post serves to highlight mental health, which often is given shorter shrift.  October 10th’s commemoration as World Mental Health Day has sparked further interest in exploring and sharing the topic.

The 2019 theme of World Mental Health Day is “Working Together to Prevent Suicide.”  Suicide is an astounding public health issue. No demographic is immune to depression and its effects, and the statistics are most harrowing for young adults.  About 50% of suicide attempts involve major depressive disorder; 90% involve some diagnosable (and treatable) psychiatric disorder.

If this information has gotten you concerned, the good news is that there is plenty to do about it.  Recognizing and treating (with or without pharmacology) depression and poor mental health is key. Building and maintaining personal connection and relationships can make the difference between feeling supported and seeming utterly alone.  So whether you are in need or know someone who may be, regular communication makes all the difference. Be a life-line and potentially save a life!

One local group that has community education for talking with individuals in need as well as crucial support groups for survivors of suicide attempts and survivors of suicide loss is the Maryland chapter of the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention.  The World Health Organization, which supports World Mental Health Day, has a wealth of information as well.  And an easy-to-remember suicide crisis hotline is simply dialing 2-1-1.  

The Pratt has a substantial research guide for Senior Mental Health Awareness in particular.  Of course, we have numerous books and other materials that cover mental health and suicide prevention.  Pennsylvania Avenue Branch has an upcoming program for men and for women with expert-facilitated conversations on living with mental illness.  And – not to be understated – increasing one’s social capital through the human connections fostered in “third places” such as the library is always a good thing.  Be well.

Hot Titles for Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month continues! Here’s a look at some of the latest books to hit our shelves from Hispanic and Latinx authors. Hope you enjoy these picks.

¡Los títulos más populares continúan llegando en el Mes de la Herencia Hispana! Aquí un vistazo a algunos de los libros más recientes de autores latinoamericanos que hemos recibido en nuestros estantes. Esperamos que disfrute de esta selección.


Empty Words
By Mario Levrero
Read | Download
Gods of Jade and Shadow
By Sylvia Moreno-Garcia
Read the book

La Vampira Venecia
By Lorenzo Fernandez Bueno
Read the book
Optic Nerve
By Maria Gainza
Read | Download | Listen


Definitely Hispanic
By LeJuan James
Read the book
No One is Illegal
By Justin Akers Chacón
Read the book
The Carrying
By Ada Limón
Read the book
The Mexican Keto Cookbook
By Torrie Borrelli
Read the book


A New Home
By Tania De Regil
Read the book
Dreams from Many Rivers
By Margarita Engle
Read the book
Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers
By Celia Pérez
Read | Download
The Moon Within
By Aida Salazar
Read the book

Young Adult:

All of Us with Wings
By Michelle Ruiz-Keil
Read | Download | Listen
Blanca & Roja
By Anna-Marie McLemore
Read | Download

The Grief Keeper
By Alexandra Villasante
Read | Download | Listen
We Set the Dark on Fire
By Tehlor Kay Meija
Read | Download | Listen