LISA BINTRIM | FREE FAMILY SUNDAY AT BMA
Lisa is a book-loving, art-loving, crab-loving, dog-loving Librarian at the Canton Branch of Enoch Pratt Free Library. Lisa is passionate about education, and is skilled at finding creative and fun educational opportunities for children in Baltimore.
Email Lisa: ebintrim[at]prattlibrary[dot]org
How interesting!: My dog, Rowen, is a rescue mutt. I adopted her when she was 9 weeks old. She’s now 14 years old, and she’s the love of my life!
What brought you to Baltimore?
My parents met in Baltimore, although neither is originally from here. My mother went to Mount Saint Agnes College (it merged with Loyola in 1971), and she taught in Baltimore schools for almost decade. She even taught at Canton Jr. High School, which used to be on Highland Avenue.
I grew up in southern PA, just one mile north of where I-83 crosses the Mason-Dixon Line. My childhood memories are full of crab feasts, Oriolesgames, and trips to the National Aquarium and the Science Center.
After college, I left the area. I spent time as a volunteer in Malawi and in Rome. I moved to Austin (TX), then to Madison (WI), where I got my doctorate in cultural anthropology and my master’s in library science from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. I moved to Durham (NC) to work as an editor for Duke University Press.
When I started looking for library jobs, Prattwas my ultimate goal. I was thrilled when I was offered a position as a children’s librarian here. Pratt has an outstanding reputation in libraries, and I get to be back in Baltimore.
When I’m not at the library, I like to read mysteries and self-help books, watch crime shows and old movies (my favorite is The Philadelphia Story—I have a huge crush on James Stewart), knit, hike with my dog, and practice yoga. I’m trying to learn how to paint; I’m about on the same skill level as the preschoolers who come to my art programs at the library.
What’s your connection to Baltimore?
I’m the children’s librarian at the Canton Branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library. I love my job! Every day I get to meet interesting people, and I get to help people. My favorite part of the job is storytime. Kids are so open and accepting, so I can have fun singing and dancing—even though I have no rhythm or singing ability! I also enjoy doing open art play with children. When we let go of our expectations and rules for “art,” kids can create beautiful and surprising things.
At the library, I always get to feel like I’ve helped someone in a very concrete way. I’m passionate about promoting literacy, creativity, and play for children. Children grow and learn best when they are allowed to explore and play and just be themselves; I love creating a space where they can just enjoy childhood. I get to model for our families how to be playful and creative in ways that still help develop early literacy skills, offering programs where kids and their caregivers can be playful and creative.
What do you like about Baltimore?
Crabs! You just can’t get a decent crab cake anywhere else. I also love being near the water; in good weather, I like to eat lunch in the Canton Waterfront Park so I can look out over the harbor.
I like that Baltimore offers lots of places and activities for families. I have so many memories of Baltimore from when I was a child, and I love that I can share those experiences—and create new memories—with my niece and nephew. They love to go to the Science Center, the Aquarium, and the Zoo. Prattpartners with many of these places so that we can share these experiences with families that may not have had exposure to them or may not be able to afford them. For example, we partner with the National Aquarium for Read to Reef. Twice a year (in the spring and fall), children can earn tickets to the aquarium by reading books about aquatic life. The aquarium also comes out to the library branches for our Summer Challenge program, and we had Port Discovery come to the Canton branch to do a program on making slime. And, of course, the library offers loads of programs for all ages and interests!
New Baltimoreans should definitely check out:
Rusty Scupper: One of my new favorite restaurants is the Rusty Scupper. I love to sit by the windows and watch the boats in the harbor. The food is delicious! And it’s walking distance to the Science Center, so we can go for lunch—when it’s less crowded—and then spend the afternoon at the Science Center.
Baltimore Museum of Art: I’m also a fan of the BMA, especially the Free Family Sunday art program. Kids get a special tour of part of the collection and then make a project inspired by what they saw. You can have brunch at Gertrude’s and then have a fantastic—and free!—afternoon program; it is a great way to share art with kids.