School Media Centers Open with Fanfare

O'Malley Arlington Library Opening
September 23, 2013Location: Baltimore, Maryland

A large crowd, including Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, joined officials from Baltimore City Public Schools and the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation to celebrate the grand opening of Arlington Elementary/Middle School's new library.

The warm reception also included heart-felt speeches from the school's principal and members of The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.

This library is the latest of several projects jointly funded by The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation and their partners, Baltimore City Public Schools and the State of Maryland through their Qualified Zone Academy Bonds program. These innovative projects are a collaborative effort to design, build, equip, and staff renovated school libraries in high-poverty Baltimore City neighborhoods.

"These spaces mean that you expect our children to succeed, and expectations do, in fact, become behavior," Governor O'Malley said to the community members, school staff, and alumni who filled the media center. "[You] saw the kids who came here and sang for us …and had that sense that when they were created God intended nothing but the very best for them."

Mayor Rawlings-Blake noted the city's recent successes in increasing "elementary school reading grades, and we've increased the graduation rates, as well, but our recent success, we know, is
not a cause for celebration. It's a charge to all of us to redouble our effort."

Including the media center at Arlington, JMT has served as program and construction manager on five library projects, and JMT considers it an honor that the officials of The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation have requested that JMT manage all future projects as The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation extends the program's reach. The new media center at Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Elementary School, also part of the Baltimore Elementary and Middle School Library Project, opened the same day as the center at Arlington Elementary/Middle School.

Arlington Elementary/Middle School in Baltimore's Park Heights neighborhood serves more than 500 students, pre-K through grade 8, and benefits from a partnership with Park Heights Renaissance, bringing services and support into the school. A new partnership with Johns Hopkins University is bringing new and inventive science lessons to the school.

Each library is designed with flexible and durable space with new technology and features, including flexible book shelving, e-readers, computers, an "Enoch Pratt Parent Place" for parents and guardians, informal reading areas, and separate study/research/discussion areas for students.