The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in the United States, today announced an additional $5 million in funding for up to 12 more public school library renovations as part of the Baltimore Elementary and Middle School Library Project. Including the Foundation’s current $5 million commitment for 12 libraries by 2015, the Weinberg Foundation now has committed a total of $10 million for as many as 24 new public school libraries.
The announcement highlighted the grand openings of the next two school libraries completely redesigned and renovated. The new libraries are located at The Historic Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Elementary School and at Arlington Elementary/Middle School where today’s official celebration took place. Speakers for today’s event included Governor Martin O’Malley, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Baltimore City Public Schools Interim CEO Tisha Edwards and Weinberg Foundation President Rachel Garbow Monroe.
In addition to showcasing the transformed library spaces at both schools, the Weinberg Foundation partnered with Maryland Food Bank and Heart of America to provide mobile food pantries at both schools. These mobile food pantries utilized a client choice approach where families were able to select the items that they preferred to receive. Every student in the school had the opportunity to go home today with 25 pounds of food – including fresh produce. The Weinberg Foundation also announced a multi-million dollar, major new capital grant to Baltimore’s very own Enoch Pratt Free Library.
The Weinberg Library Project now involves more than 30 partners across all sectors. Extending that public-private collaboration, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake today announced the Mayor’s Reading Club, a program intended to improve vocabulary and literacy skills of students from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade in Baltimore City. The Reading Club program will initially focus on the four schools associated with the Mayor’s Third Grade Reads initiative as well as Weinberg Library Project schools.
The Library Project coincides with Baltimore City Public Schools’ work to provide its school communities with modern, high-quality school buildings, an effort that will result in $1.1 billion in renovations and new construction in the coming years.
Please follow all Weinberg Library Project developments at www.baltimorelibraryproject.org and on Twitter at #libraryproject.