Wright Middle debuts incredible new library/community space/model for Metro's future

More than just a simple room remodel, the new library at Wright Middle School has remodeled the way we think about libraries in Metro Schools. Sure, the Wright library is brand new, shining and filled with books and technology. It will also be open after hours for parents and community members who want to read, learn English, take classes and more.

From WPLN's Daniel Potter:

[Principal Jud] Haynie says modernizing the library is part of a broader push in Metro toward “community schools,” which aim to help with broader challenges outside the classroom, like parents trying to earn GEDs.  To that end he’s adding a social worker in lieu of an assistant principal.  And dental care will be available to each of Wright Middle’s students in the next few months through Interfaith Dental.

Ah, yes! Community schools! They really do benefit everyone.

This library project was made possible through a very generous donation from John and Stephanie Ingram, who spearheaded a similar project at Hillwood High School last year.

And it won't be the last.

Total library renovations will next come to DuPont Tyler Middle School and Apollo Middle School. It's all part of that brand new vision of libraries in Metro Schools. Watch this space for more to come.

Help give a sincere and giant THANK YOU to the Ingrams and all of the other partners who made this transformation possible.

Official details from the Mayor's Office:

Mayor Karl Dean, joined by Nashville Public Library, the Nashville Public Library Foundation and Metro Schools, dedicated the newly renovated Wright Middle School library today. The new library was made possible by a generous gift of $500,000 from Nashville community advocates Stephanie and John R. Ingram to the Nashville Public Library Foundation for the Limitless Libraries program.

Through the donation, the library space was modernized and moved to a larger space on the first floor of the school, additional books and materials were purchased and technology was upgraded. Limitless Libraries was created by Mayor Dean as a collaborative program between Nashville Public Library and Metro Schools to deliver books and materials directly to school libraries. Wright Middle School is the fourth largest user of Limitless Libraries among middle schools.

“Private support like this generous gift from John and Stephanie Ingram helps us create an inviting, welcoming library, where students will read more, learn more and grow more,” Mayor Dean said. “Through Limitless Libraries, students have more books and upgraded technology to help make reading and schoolwork easier and more enjoyable. Students at Wright Middle are already heavy users of Limitless Libraries, and I expect that to continue and grow as they make use of all this modern library has to offer.”

Mayor Dean toured the renovated library with School Librarian Allison Barney earlier today. As part of the renovation, the library was expanded from 2,925 square feet to 5,100 square feet. The space includes two new student conference rooms and a new attached classroom with a pull-down garage door.

In addition to seven computer stations, technology improvements include several iPad stations throughout the library, including three iPad check-in stations. There are also two self-checkout stations and a mobile laptop cart that includes 30 laptops. Fifteen small lockers outfitted with electrical outlets are available to students so they can charge their personal electronic devices in a safe place. John Ingram, Library Director Kent Oliver and Schools Director Jesse Register accompanied Mayor Dean on the tour.

“We're excited to be a part of the Limitless Libraries program and to see the benefits provided to the students of Wright Middle School and the citizens of this community,” John R. Ingram said.  “We appreciate that Mayor Dean and the Metro Council recognize the value and the positive impact of this program and have further approved additional funds to continue refurbishing school libraries. This is a positive investment in the education and lives of our children, which can only be good for Nashville.”

Through Limitless Libraries, the library has expanded its collections to better reflect the diversity of the student population at Wright Middle School. The collection of graphic novels has more than doubled from 200 items five years ago to 557 thanks to Limitless Libraries. Graphic novels are popular with middle schoolers, and their simple text and heavy visual element aid comprehension for English learners. Additionally, Limitless Libraries provided 76 Playaway audio books, which can help students develop fluency when learning English. The library also is expanding its world languages collection to offer books in other languages, also partially supported through Limitless Libraries.

Wright Middle School serves a very diverse population with 22 languages being spoken amongst the 875 students. The renovated and expanded library is a key component to making Wright Middle a community school. The library will be open to the public in the evenings for basic adult education courses, as well as Spanish-language classes for teachers. Furthermore, through a partnership with Interfaith Dental, preventative dental services will be offered at the library location for all students.

“Libraries give students a place to read, learn and explore,” said Director of Schools Dr. Jesse Register. “This beautiful and modern space will not only provide great service to current and future Wright students, but will also be a community destination. We appreciate Mayor Dean’s support for the Limitless Libraries program that has expanded materials available to our students across the district and want to thank Stephanie and John R. Ingram for the generosity that made this space possible.”

Library Director Kent Oliver said, “Libraries are an essential part of the education of our students. Thanks to the generosity of John and Stephanie Ingram, the diverse population of Wright Middle School and the greater community have access to this critical resource and the opportunity to put a library at the heart of the learning experience.”

An upgraded library and new technology will make it easier for students to access all the resources of Limitless Libraries. Limitless Libraries was introduced in middle schools in 2011 and is now available in all traditional Metro schools. During the 2012-13 school year, Limitless Libraries circulated more than 130,000 items.

About Limitless Libraries Established by Mayor Karl Dean, Limitless Libraries is a collaborative program between the Nashville Public Library and Metro Schools to provide a groundbreaking service by delivering books and materials directly to school libraries. Limitless Libraries currently has 25,221 registered users circulating over 130,000 items during the last school year.

About the Nashville Public Library Foundation The Nashville Public Library Foundation, established in 1997, has raised more than $30 million for such purposes as enhancing the exquisite Grand Reading Room, the Bridgestone/Firestone Conference Center, the beautiful Robinson Courtyard, the Civil Rights Room and adding more than 150,000 items to library collections. The Foundation also supports the award winning preschool literacy program, Bringing Books to Life, funds art exhibits, a job search lab and presents the Nashville International Puppet Festival. The mission of the Nashville Public Library Foundation is to raise private funds to enhance the programs, facilities and collections of the Nashville Public Library.

About Wright Middle School Wright Middle School, located at 180 Mccall Street, serves 875 students in grades 5-8.  With more than 22 languages represented within its student body, Wright is one of the most diverse middle schools in Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools. Part of the Community Achieves initiative of Metro Schools, Wright is one of 19 community schools that will offer needed resources and support for parents, students and the community, including after school programs and afterhours library access for adult education.