On Wednesday, the Weinberg Foundation unveiled the first of three renovated and redesigned Baltimore City Public Schools libraries to the public at Thomas Johnson Elementary/Middle School. The renovations are a part of the Baltimore Elementary and Middle School Library Project initiative to build, equip and staff Baltimore City elementary and middle school libraries. The American Library Association (ALA) applauds the Weinberg Foundation for their dedication of $5 million to build 12 new school libraries for Baltimore City Public Schools.
As part of the school library renovations and additions, each library will include thousands of new books, e-readers, computers and designated areas for parent visits and school instruction. Several key leaders spoke at the library’s public opening, including, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, Baltimore City Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Andrés A. Alonso and Weinberg Foundation President Rachel Garbow Monroe. ALA President Maureen Sullivan was also present at the event.
“We thank the Weinberg Foundation for recognizing the important role that school libraries can play in a child’s education,” said Sullivan. “The Foundation is investing in school libraries because they understand that libraries can turn around schools.
“The Weinberg Foundation’s commitment to Baltimore libraries exemplifies the fact that school libraries are a crucial component of school learning environments. Right now, the American Library Association is working to with Congress to ensure the inclusion of school library funding in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.”
J. Ward Holland, a pastor at a local church near the school, said that the new library is going to give students the skills that they need for the 21st century.
“[The library] is a tremendous asset because we’re in a new era of media, and the school needs a library that is up to date,” said Holland, who often volunteers at the school for various cleanup projects. “If you don’t have something that is going to capture their attention, you’re not going to reach them.”
“This library is really a testament to the work we can do when we work together,” said Gov. O’Malley, adding that 40 percent of the Maryland state budget is dedicated to school funding. “Education is the single best investment we can make.”