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Reading the book on the history and modern realities of Enoch Pratt Free Library with Meghan McCorkell. More than just a visit from Jada and Will, let the longtime journalist tell Nestor the facts about ways Baltimore is getting educated via its oldest institution of community and learning.


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Nestor J. Aparicio, Meghan McCorkell

Nestor J. Aparicio  00:01

Welcome back, we are wn sta and 5070, Towson, Baltimore and Baltimore positive we are almost wrapping things up. I don’t know that I’ve ever done eight consecutive hours of live radio with with no engineer, no break. No fun, but I’m gonna try to have some fun around here right now. Megan McCorkle joins me I need a professional here. Yet other people here I don’t even know what mic you’re on at this point, but I want to hear myself so it’s working. Well, you’re on like to the right mic. Maybe McCorkle of course, was it to chat with our team for a long time and i i Have we ever met


Meghan McCorkell  00:35

I don’t think we’ve ever met. And telly. I

Nestor J. Aparicio  00:40

don’t know anything about you other than you were on and then you weren’t on and now you’re Enoch Pratt. You know, Marty, and I’ve been friends for a billion years and everything on TV Hill, and we’re I work with Tim Williams years ago when I was there and all that stuff for Jay Newman banned me from the station. Oh, that so? What’s happened? So no, it won’t happen. No, I committed to Him, trust me. So he heard from me one day didn’t like it. But nonetheless, media and what you went to school for and what I went to school to be a writer sport. I retired from the newspaper business in 1992. I was 23. My dad was dying, and my dad died pissed at me, because he thought I was gonna get a gold watch at the newspaper. Starting two years ago, my dad, you know, but my dad had it wrong about the media industry. He was different. Well, I don’t even know what to say to young people. You know, everybody knows what the Ravens threw me out from from nothing. I don’t think of myself. I was a young person coming to an old fart like me and say, Hey, Nestor, I want to be sports writer, I want to be a sports reporter. I’m like, well, they go work for the team and just be PR because like, if you’re on the other side, even if you have season tickets and love the team, being in the media is hard. And then there’s the part of paying your bill that’s high of a incredibly shrinking industry. Yeah, I

Meghan McCorkell  02:02

did 16 years in TV news. So I be bopped around. I was in DC. I was in Ohio. I eventually came back to America boss, right. Yeah, very much. You’re always going places. But no, I was at Jay Z for five years. And then I got the offer at the Enoch Pratt Free Library. And so then I made that pivot from TV into intentional Yes. 100% tential. Actually, a lot of people get thrown in. I know, no, I was not thrown out. They actually

Nestor J. Aparicio  02:27


really, like, I don’t know what else I would do. But if I did something, you probably wouldn’t be something like what you’re it would be a move to something I’m passionate about.

Meghan McCorkell  02:38

I love storytelling. That was what I’d like being on TV was fun. But I loved the storytelling. I loved the responsibility of someone telling you their story and being able to tell that story. Right? Yeah, and get it right. And now I get to tell stories at the Pratt library. They just have happier endings than most of the stories I get to tell a news. But did you

Nestor J. Aparicio  02:57

think you were going to be a news woman for the rest of your life? I mean, when you’re in it, you feel like you I feel like I’m gonna do this the rest of my life, but I don’t know. I mean, it’s only going to be that if the lottery supports me and fails. And you know, it really is you get to do it as long as they let you gain

Meghan McCorkell  03:12

to people. I love interviewing people. I love talking to people. I love telling people stories. I just do it in a really different way. When I started in TV news, I loved it. When I went up leaving I just loved it last it was hard. It was hard to move every few years. You’re never really I never bought a house. I’m from New Jersey originally. So we almost know. Right up 95 Yeah, not too bad. I say my, my family taught us to call if they want to visit but yes, just just close enough. So yeah, it was sort of time actually, at the time that I was interviewing at the Pratt library. I was also interviewing up in New York. And so at the same time, I got the Pratt job in New York called and asked if I wanted a national correspondent job at the same time. So it was a very hard decision. But you know, national correspondent, you’re just on a plane, right for you basically see your apartment, I don’t know in New York with your like half size couch because you can’t fit anything else. And 1500 a month. Yeah. And you’re there what one day out of the month, maybe in between all of those trips, and I had given 16 years to TV news. I loved it, but I wanted to actually have a life. And so now I own a house and I have a dog and I work in an amazing place where I get to tell great stories. Alright, so


Nestor J. Aparicio  04:19

the Enoch Pratt Free Library, I discovered and I guess this is this sort of serendipity that Zappa’s faces out in front of my Enoch Pratt library. You know, I’m Baltimore County kid, and we had a branch of the county library in Merritt Park in London, and they had stuff but like, a lot of times I took the bus to Highland town. Enoch Pratt library is right next to the grand you know, I’m not a highly Dundalk kid, but I grew up in Highland town on the weekends going up there. And that was my library and my dad would take me down to the big one once in a while. But back then, you know, you get bookmobile and if you wanted a book, you could get it. You just ordered him a common whatever a couple of weeks. If I was more of a microfiche guy of a Newton, how about that? But I was I wanted to be a newspaper reporter. So everything about everything was newspaper newspaper. Yeah, that’s my wife. But the Enoch Pratt library, and I’ve had Heidi on during the plague, and you guys are working hard at doing different I mean, John iceberg was down there you had your, your moment with with Will Smith and J. I mean, you, you had a pretty good 23 from a

Meghan McCorkell  05:24

he had a pretty great 23.


A lot. It came to me, I didn’t have to come. Well, thanks, then I’m doing my job.

Meghan McCorkell  05:33


Yeah, we had an amazing 23. But here’s one thing that I think people in Baltimore don’t actually know about the interpret free library is that the Pratt library is considered like one of the most innovative libraries in the entire country. When people go to get their master’s in library science, they teach about the Pratt library, because it was one of the oldest free libraries in the country, it’s historic, a different model, it’s a completely different, it’s, it’s very much a different model. It used to be, you know, back in the 1800s, that you had to pay to use a library, you have to be a member and pay to use the library. Yeah, exactly. And it was obviously only available to rich white men, because that’s who could afford it. And so the Pratt library opened in 1882. And he said, My, my library’s for all. And so he was like, anybody could come in and get books for free as long as they returned to them. And it really helped set a model for free libraries around the country. And since then, the Pratt really has innovated, I always laugh and say, because he said, my library’s for all, the mission of what he said in the 1880s is no different than what we do today, we just provide a lot more innovative services, I think, in Baltimore, we really take a look at the Pratt library as one of the most trusted institutions in the city of Baltimore. And when Baltimore needs something, we try and find a way to get it within our four walls, because we know that people are coming in, and they trust us. So if we can bring resources in, then we’re a place where we can connect them and hopefully help them reach their goals and make their lives better.

Nestor J. Aparicio  07:03

You made me want to write another books, lecture, you know what I mean? I see eyes and we’re gonna move through lift book. I don’t want to write any more books. You know, I’ve written a couple. But what is the what is the nonpregnant so if I want to walk up the street, I live in a county. So I’m not a city resident. If I were to walk up the street were five blocks six blocks away from the the big guy up the street, I drove by it all the way. That’s the way I come down Maryland and walk in what happens I gotta get a car, do I? Well,

Meghan McCorkell  07:31

first of all, we are the state where the State Library of Maryland so even if you live in the county, you get to have a neat

Nestor J. Aparicio  07:37

hours, can I sit down? Please sit down. I want to sound like old like Marty. Do better.


Meghan McCorkell  07:45

So yeah, you can you can walk in, and honestly, it just depends on what you need. So we have people that walk in every day who say, I need a resume. I don’t know how to use a computer. I don’t know how to look for jobs. And we have librarians that are workforce librarians that will sit with you one on one, teach you how to use the computer teach you how to make a resume teach you how to apply for jobs, and we have a lot of people to come back and say, oh my gosh, I got that job. And it was all things. I walked in here. Yeah, I mean, it’s amazing. But we also have things you would never think of like obviously amazing author programs that are completely free. So like Jada Pinkett Smith was completely free event. So 800 people.

Nestor J. Aparicio  08:24

It Will Smith was coming at only about

Meghan McCorkell  08:26

four or five of us news. We found out the day before we found out just the day before, and we were all sort of hyperventilating until that second. So it was fun. But we have lots of great authors present

Nestor J. Aparicio  08:37


National Moment. Oh, and it was really a big deal. Yes, it was.

Meghan McCorkell  08:41

It was it was a great it was a big deal. I will say this, they were lovely. The whole family was absolutely lovely. They took pictures with everybody. There was so nice. And it was the first time that they’d been seen publicly together since her book had come out. So and apparently she didn’t know he was here. He surprised her on stage. Oh, yes. So

Nestor J. Aparicio  09:05

the day before but she didn’t know. Apparently. Yeah. I know. You had a family meetings. They gotta they got you know, they’ll figure that out. I

Meghan McCorkell  09:12

met a lot of their people. They were very nice people. But no, it was great. It


Nestor J. Aparicio  09:16

was a great Baltimore story. Right I mean, she’s from

Meghan McCorkell  09:19

here went to BSA. I mean, get she was she was lovely. She visited the Baltimore School for the Arts that day talk to a lot of the kids. Her kids came and also visited the school. So yeah, they were great. It was really interesting. But we’ve been bringing in amazing blockbuster high caliber authors in the past year or two. We have Billy Dee Williams coming in a few weeks that’s sold out Joy Realty. He Billy Dee Williams. Oh


man is going down right now.

Meghan McCorkell  09:48


I know. So he’s coming. Just a ruggedly handsome a better yeah, I will let you know in about two weeks.

Nestor J. Aparicio  09:53

I always wanted to be his ruggedly handsome.

Meghan McCorkell  09:56

He’s coming down and then we have Julian Reed from MSNBC. The Next week, we have Tamron Hall from NBC the month after. So it’s just a full slate of authors that that are completely free to come see, you just have to make sure you register on the day up because we sell out pretty quick. I’m

Nestor J. Aparicio  10:11

glad people are still writing books. Yeah, I you know, I mean, I worry when the Barnes and Nobles in the borders and you know, I and online the part of that for you with physical books in the library. What are the you can’t have every book right? Like, we can we try. But like what what constitutes something and I don’t want to get this political for like the teaching people in Florida that banned by not saying banned books, I’m just talking about physically how many books you can have. And when a new book comes out? Whether I mean, I wrote two books on the ravens, I didn’t think to myself, I’ll give one to the non pro lover because it’d be there. I didn’t even think about. But I’m thinking like, my book wouldn’t be good enough to be in my books now. Yeah, that’s the way I feel my collections


Meghan McCorkell  11:00

department that that is what they do. They are our selectors. And they go through and we have like a list of requirements. And they go through those requirements. And they decide what gets on the shelves, we have a lot of local authors. So that would make sense, your book could potentially definitely be on the shelf. So we try and have something for everyone. And people can go on our website and actually suggest a title and our selectors will look into buying it and let you know if they bought it. But

Nestor J. Aparicio  11:26

we give them do accept donations or books we did before COVID,

Meghan McCorkell  11:31

we do a little bit less now. We have so many books in central library that our books, if you put them next to each other would stretch from here all the way to Washington, DC. I know that yes. And we have thought you might not be able to take any more I know our eBook Collection is one thing that’s getting really big. So you can also get a digital print library card and download ebooks to your devices. So you don’t have to be paying Amazon for all of those new titles. You can just get them straight from the library for free with your Pratt library card. You can download music and

Nestor J. Aparicio  12:00


I want to get this right. Yeah. So if you have a Kindle, yeah, it’s in the book. Yep, you can

Meghan McCorkell  12:07

check out the book, you can check out the book. So you download there is an app called Livi. That and you download your library card information into that you have it on your phone, you search for the book, you put a hold on the book, once you get it, you send it to your Kindle device. And you just read it straight from there. And then it stays on your device for the two week period that it’s allotted. And then it disappears. Oh, so you get two weeks to read it. You get to excreted although this is my hot tip. Don’t tell anybody if you put your device in airplane mode, it will stay on there. You don’t finish.

Nestor J. Aparicio  12:39

Cheater, cheater. Here she is Enoch Pratt, what is your official title?

Meghan McCorkell  12:44

And I am the they add things to it every year. So I am the Chief Marketing Communications and Strategy Officer.


Nestor J. Aparicio  12:50

All right, we’ve added the strategy, strategy strategy

Meghan McCorkell  12:53

came in, I think the last two years, you know, it’s just you know, my team makes the business cards. So it’s fine.

Nestor J. Aparicio  12:59

What did you leave? 13?

Meghan McCorkell  13:01

I left 13. Seven years ago, actually, this is my, this is my seventh year at Pratt this week.

Nestor J. Aparicio  13:07

I should go so fast. No, you but I would have said was it 2122? Even two years, three years? Yeah, like seven years like you were on TV a minute. I know. It’s funny. Well, in a town like Baltimore, I’m sure. Like, the fact that you’re on TV adds a little extra something when you walk into a room representing an opera. Right? It

Meghan McCorkell  13:26

helps. I mean, it’s nice. It’s nice, because I’ve connected with so many people in my previous career. And I connect with them again as part of the library. And people still see me on TV in shows like this, because I get to talk about the library. So Well, I’m

Nestor J. Aparicio  13:38

glad you came by. And I’m glad we got to meet each other. And it wasn’t like you being a reporter lady doing something on me. Yeah, exactly. But it taught me how they can do this and get involved if they, if they’re so inclined to become a part of because I’m sure people come in every day, I don’t have enough prep. So what does that process take. So


Meghan McCorkell  13:58

you can walk into any of our prep library locations and get a card all you need is a government issued ID you can also go on Pratt and get one of our digital cards and access all of our resources. That way you can follow us on social media, look on print, for all of the amazing services that we have. We also and I think a lot of people don’t realize this is so the city and the state really paid to keep the doors open and the staff paid, but they don’t pay for any of the programs at the Pratt library, which are some of the things that really make the Pratt the Pratt like all of those amazing author programs and children’s programs. And so we raise money for that. So if you want to support the library, you can also go on our website, Pratt and

Nestor J. Aparicio  14:38

a train ticket to get down here. So you got to pay for that. Well, what we

Meghan McCorkell  14:42

wind up doing is we actually buy books for everyone that is coming to the event so everyone will get a free book. And so and that helps. So that is one of the things we have to find. But I mean, we do free winter coats for children. We do we have, you know we have social workers in the library. We have peer navigators in the library. We have all kinds of different services that are privately or grant funded. Well plan

Nestor J. Aparicio  15:05


as you all know what I asked Megan McCorkle is here, she’s at Enoch Pratt, she’s got a title to damn it by the way, free lottery. She’s got 10 times the cash. Our friends at the Maryland lottery put us out on the road doing this wacky wacky. I’ve done radio row at the Superbowl for 27 years. Right. So you can email Chad’s to ask him why we’re not there. He’ll lie to you about it, but we’re not there. So I decided to do something different. And so this is crabcake row I like and that’s better than radio row. And Baltimore is better than Las Vegas, especially when our team’s not in it. It’s only 50 degrees in Vegas this week. So yeah, nobody. You didn’t want to go to Vegas this week. The next Super Bowl, it’d be better than this one. But we’re doing crabcake row. It is a cup of Super Bowl and what we’re asking folks to do. We’re at the end of the day here today. Oh, by the way, Franklin Baker’s here from the United Way. Tom at the NFL, we get some NFL and that’s where I first heard the United Way was NFL being a colts fan back in the day. But what we’re doing here is a cup of soup or bowl. It’s very simple. You bring out lemon pepper tuna salad, or you bring me some wise lasagna bring me some green giant, Jolly Lucky Charms like a Campbell Soup, beer, all sorts things. People give it away. We’ll give it away to the Maryland food bank down here. It’s a grace and hope mission. We had Karen a couple hours ago. That’s where this food in the money’s going. And tomorrow we’re going to be Costas and fonedog. Wednesday. We’re going to be a Coco’s and laurelville. Thursday, we’re going to be at State Fair in Catonsville. And then Friday at Pappas. I think by Friday, I lose my voice. Yeah, maybe for some loss engine, but I am seven hours and 40 minutes into this. I’ve only had I’ve only gotten knocked off the air one time, and I’ve only thought I got knocked off the air one other time. I had one panic attack all day. But Franklin’s here, right? So I gotta get to five o’clock, to take a break. I’m hoping to not panic in the next 90 minutes to get the five o’clock. And I’ll be back at nine o’clock tomorrow morning to do it all over again. Appreciate you.


Thank you love your smile. It’s

Nestor J. Aparicio  17:03

great to have you here. So I’m going to come you leave in this for me. Yeah, you can have that car magazine. upsurge. I’ve had the upsurge people on the show before we Bailey on the show. When’s Oprah coming to town?

Meghan McCorkell  17:17

We got to work on that.


Nestor J. Aparicio  17:18

I gotta get Shalonda on up and chasing her. Awesome. She was on our podcast, Thomas. I know his his his personal system, but not him. So really,

Meghan McCorkell  17:26

he’s a nice guy. He wasn’t there at all. I

Nestor J. Aparicio  17:28

mean, you give me this stuff with books. I mean,



I’m I know Look, we have

Meghan McCorkell  17:31

library Valentine. You’re gonna find this

Nestor J. Aparicio  17:33

hard to believe but I’m really literate. I was a writer

Meghan McCorkell  17:36

of books. I was a TV person writing question about


Nestor J. Aparicio  17:39

saying it newspapers. So you know, the fact that it’s still going on is still a beautiful thing. And Frank SAP is still in Highland. Yeah,

Meghan McCorkell  17:48

he’s still up there.

Nestor J. Aparicio  17:51

Frank Alright, come on by for the Maryland Food Bank. I got 20 minutes left here at Bally’s. You don’t find me today find me later on in the week. Coming to a crabcake location near you. Unless we are wn st am 1570, Towson Baltimore. And we never stop talking Baltimore positive

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