History of the Canton Branch
Designed by architect Charles L. Carson, who drew the plans for Old Central and the first six branches of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Canton opened its doors to the public in 1886. It is the last of the four original branches to be in service as a library and is located within the Canton Historic District. Significant in the history of Baltimore’s libraries, it is the last remaining one that Mr. Enoch Pratt used. Despite its historic nature, Canton Branch provides 21st century services to its customers, including free Internet access, automated reserves processing, and a games computer for children’s use. Its audio book and DVD collections are well used by the community.
A 1923 addition to the building created a Lecture Hall, used for educational meetings when it was constructed. Currently, it provides Canton’s program space, used for events from weekly sessions of Mother Goose on the Loose to Irish Folk Music to Writers’ Showcases.
Canton is fortunate to have a caring Friends of the Library group whose activities are spearheaded by the Executive Board. Their semi-annual book sales, now held in conjunction with the Friends of the Southeast Anchor Library, are hard work for all, but they are highly anticipated community events and provide revenue for the Friends groups.
Canton Branch is also fortunate to have the knowledgeable, dedicated support of the Canton Garden Association. Members of this group created a beautiful garden, suitable to the period of the building, and work hard to maintain it. They also enhance the library’s exterior with lovely greens each year at the holiday season.