Why and How?
One of the major challenges facing Baltimore City, as well as many major urban areas, is the education of our children. Despite ongoing, demonstrated improvement, serious obstacles remain. Reading proficiently in elementary school, specifically by the end of third grade, is a crucial marker in a child’s educational development. More specifically, a national study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation finds that one in six children who are not reading proficiently in third grade do not graduate from high school on time. This rate, which is four times greater than that for proficient readers, is an alarming reality for many Baltimore City students and educators. The belief among education reformers and non-reformers alike is that strong literacy skills and love of reading and writing are the way to break out of poverty when these young students become adults.
The Baltimore Elementary and Middle School Library Project works with schools to design, build, equip, and staff new or renovated elementary school libraries in high-poverty neighborhoods. While creating beautiful spaces is an important component of the project, the real goal of the initiative is to impact academic achievement of Baltimore’s students.