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J.T. Moore Middle Prep celebrates new library

JTLibrary-5017.jpg Going to the library for language arts class takes on a new meaning for John Trotwood Moore Middle Prep eighth grader Hadley Pride. That's because the school's new, expanded library includes a classroom space for her teacher.

"He likes to use the whiteboard," said Pride.

J.T. Moore celebrated its new, recently renovated 7,000-square-foot library with a special ceremony on Monday, Oct. 10. that included Mayor Megan Barry, Director of Schools Dr. Shawn Joseph, District 8 School Board Member Mary Pierce, Nashville Public Library Director Kent Oliver, J.T. Moore Principal Dr. Gary Hughes, community leaders, teachers, parents and students.

J.T. Moore’s new library includes a vibrant, open display of makerspaces for students to work on individual projects in small groups, new reception desks, laptop stations to plug in and continue learning, as well as ceiling clouds.

"For so many children, their world may be limited to the three-mile radius of where they live, but when they walk into a library they can see and experience the world," said Dr. Shawn Joseph, Metro Schools' director of schools.

"I love the hallway entrance because we have more of a presence. I love how flexible the space is and the movable furniture," said Erin Bridges, J.T. Moore's librarian.

Alex Henry, a fifth grade student at J.T. Moore, likes to look up library books using an iPad. "I like the library. It's a lot bigger and it has a lot more books," Henry said.

"There are new varieties of books," said Yohannes Armstrong, a sixth grader at J.T. Moore who likes checking out audiobooks and reading books from the Yu-Gi-Oh! series.

Stephanie Ham, director of library services for Metro Schools, says J.T. Moore Middle Prep sees more than 50 students each morning before the school day begins since the library was renovated. Renovations increase school library engagement overall, she said.

“Looking back at the schools that have had renovations, schools on average have seen a 13 percent increase in book circulation,” said Stephanie Ham.

The renovation is a result of the partnership between Metro Schools and the Nashville Public Library’s Limitless Libraries program, which facilitated a $1 million donation from a local donor. The donation spurred renovations in several libraries throughout the district, beginning in 2013 with Hillwood High School. Wright Middle Prep, DuPont Tyler Middle Prep, Apollo Middle Prep, McGavock High School and Overton High School have all had library renovation since then. Parent-teacher organizations have also provided significant funding for furniture purchases to offset district technology purchases in every library.

Hamm said the library renovations have also increased collaboration between teachers and students as a result of the open space concept. Hands-on learning opportunities and programs at the schools have expanded with more makerclubs, news and book clubs, meaning "more kids are in the library than ever before,” she said.

For Enya Trotter, the new design makes her want to go to the library more often. "I like the colors. It makes it kid-friendly and welcoming," Trotter said.

Looking forward, Harris-Hillman special education school’s 3,000-square-foot library addition will be complete by December, according to the Metro Schools planning and construction department. The library will include a special conference space, mostly open space, a special reading space and bookshelf stacks.

View photos from J.T. Moore's library celebration below: