In 2001, Baltimore City Public Schools began applying for Qualified Zone Academy Bond (QZAB) funds that are used for the renovation of public school libraries. The QZAB funds renovate the physical space at each location and ensure proper configuration, environmental abatement, quality air control, lighting, and flooring for a few approved libraries each year. To qualify for QZAB funds, the school must be located in either an Empowerment Zone or Enterprise Community with 35% or more of its students eligible for the free or reduced price meal program.
As of 2011, 53 City School libraries have been renovated with $14.2 million in QZAB funds and with more than $2.5 million of donated in-kind volunteer hours. City Schools have also contributed an additional $8.5 million for architectural/mechanical work, construction costs and furniture. The Baltimore Elementary and Middle School Library Project has leveraged these funds and brought in additional partners to maximize additional resources for schools and students.