Baltimore libraries stay open to provide community support

A member of the community makes a heart gesture with his hands in front of a line of police officers in riot gear, near a recently looted and burned CVS store in Baltimore, Maryland, April 28, 2015. Baltimore's mayor came under criticism on Tuesday for a slow police response to some of the worst urban violence in the United States in years in which shops were looted, buildings burned to the ground and 20 officers were injured.REUTERS/Jim Bourg

A member of the Baltimore community stands in front of a line of police officers in riot gear near a recently looted and burned CVS store. Photo by Reuters/Jim Bourg.

Baltimore schools are closed in light of the riots over Freddie Gray’s death, but not all public buildings are following suit. The city’s public libraries, even those in the middle of the protests, will remain open to provide a place of “comfort and community” to Baltimore residents.

“It’s at times like this that the community needs us,” Roswell Encina , Director of Communications of Enoch Pratt Free Library, told MTV News. “That’s what the library has always been there for, from crises like this to a recession to the aftermath of severe weather. The library has been there. It happened in Ferguson; it’s happening here.”

The city is in a state of emergency since violent protests broke out Monday night, hours after Gray’s funeral. In the epicenter of the riots is the Baltimore’s Pennsylvania Avenue library — a branch that, according to MTV News reports, has already received praise for staying open.