In Baltimore City, the Department of Education is headed by the Board of School Commissioners (City Charter, Art. VII, secs. 59-64).

The Board of School Commissioners is responsible for the management of the Baltimore City Public School System. The Board determines educational policy for the Department of Education, provides forums at which residents of the City may express their views about educational policy and decision-making, and submits the annual budget for the Department. The Board also confirms or rejects all nominations by the Superintendent of principals, teachers, supervisors, directors, and other professional employees. Specifications for all educational supplies and equipment used by the Department are determined by the Board.

Plans and specifications for school buildings, including changes in plans and specifications, are prepared under the direction of and approved by the Board. Moreover, the Board also has authority to select school sites. In addition, the Board has charge of the transportation of pupils; the maintenance and operation of vehicles and equipment used for such purposes; and the care, storage, and distribution of supplies and equipment used by the Department.

Appointed jointly by the Governor and the Mayor, the Board consists of nine members (City Charter, Art. VII, secs. 59-64; Code Education Article, sec. 3-108.1).


[photo, Enoch Pratt Free Library, 400 Cathedral St., Baltimore, Maryland]


The Enoch Pratt Free Library was offered as a gift to Baltimore City in 1882 by philanthropist Enoch Pratt (Chapter 181, Acts of 1882; Baltimore City Council Ordinance no. 106 of 1882). On January 5, 1886, a central library opened on Mulberry Street along with four branch libraries. In 1933, the central library moved to its present location.

Enoch Pratt Free Library, 400 Cathedral St., Baltimore, Maryland, October 2007. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

Today, with the central library located on Cathedral Street, the Pratt Center for Technology on Orleans Street, and the Regional Information Center on Boston Street, twenty-one branch libraries serve the City. Branch libraries include: Brooklyn (1921); Canton (1886); Cherry Hill (1951); Clifton (1916); Edmundson Avenue (1952); Forest Park (1910); Govans (1921); Hamilton (1920); Hampden (1900); Herring Run (1963); Light Street (1886); Northwood (1960); Orleans Street (2007; formerly Broadway, 1888); Patterson Park (1910); Pennsylvania Avenue (1953); Reisterstown Road (1967); Roland Park (1924); Southeast Archor (2007); Walbrook (1957); Washington Village (1991); and Waverly (1971).

In 1971, the Central Library of the Enoch Pratt Free Library System was designated as the State Library Resource Center (Chapter 770, Acts of 1971). The Center lends books and other materials to libraries in the State Library Network from sources within Maryland and out of State via the Maryland Interlibrary Organization. It also provides information to State government through the Government Reference Service (Code Education Article, sec. 23-201).

The Center administers Sailor, Maryland's online electronic information network. Overseen by the Division of Library Development and Services of the State Department of Education in conjunction with the Center, Sailor connects Marylanders to information resources within the State and worldwide. It also provides access to Internet resources. Sailor allows users to identify and locate books; articles in magazines, newspapers, and journals; answers to specific questions; or information on a particular topic. It gives information about services of public and private agencies; and government information, such as proposed legislation, job listings, and census data. In all twenty-three counties and Baltimore City, Sailor is available without charge through libraries and by dial access on modem-equipped computers.

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