The Baltimore Elementary and Middle School Library Project, now involving more than 40 partners, works with Baltimore City Public schools to design, build, equip, and staff new or renovated libraries in selected schools where existing public funds can be leveraged.
This project engages leaders from multiple organizations and across sectors for the greater good of the community. Each library is a well-designed, well-made, flexible and durable space that includes a vast array of new products and features. These include flexible book shelving, e-readers, computers and other technological instructional devices, an “Enoch Pratt Parent Place” for parents/guardians, informal reading areas, and separate areas for study and research, instruction, and group discussion.
The Weinberg Foundation and its partners hope that a fun, safe and enlightening space such as the libraries in this project will contribute to children’s love of books and will help them to develop critical reading and thinking skills. Such belief stems from the findings of nationwide studies that show positive correlations between school libraries and academic achievement. Specifically, research has shown that students in schools with strong school libraries learn more, get better grades, and score higher on standardized test scores than their peers in schools without libraries. Further, studies have shown that a well-equipped, well-staffed, well-resourced library can override almost any negative impact poverty has on a student’s academic achievement.*
The Library Project will create as many as 24 of these inspirational spaces. The Weinberg Foundation has committed $10 million, of the total $30 million project investment, for what is expected to be a legacy project.
To learn more about the Project, please visit www.baltimorelibraryproject.org.
*Numerous statistics and sources cited as part of a report prepared for the Weinberg Foundation by Frances Gretes, Gretes Research Services, Info@gretesresearch.com, August 2013
Latest Evaluation Findings
In order to monitor the effectiveness of the Baltimore Library Project, the Weinberg Foundation has completed annual evaluations of the initiative. The latest report was published in January 2017 and focuses on the first nine schools, opened between 2011 and 2014.