The University of Massachusetts Medical School is supporting education and economic development in the City of Worcester by investing $1.575 million over five years in proven, effective partnerships to prepare today’s youth for the high-skills regional economy. The first $700,000 – which have been invested over the past year - support the “One City–One Library” program - a program designed to improve access to books, technology and literacy programs by expanding school-based and public library services across the city to increase student performance, literacy levels, and sustainability.
In a Worcester Telegram & Gazette op-ed published on April 28, UMass Medical School Chancellor Michael F. Collins said the medical school has invested $700,000 in Worcester's One City–One Library initiative to help Worcester students achieve academic success and prepare for future career opportunities in the increasingly demanding life sciences and health care-driven economy.
“Despite affluent children having access to 13 books a day, on average, in some of the lowest-income neighborhoods there is only one age-appropriate book for every 300 children,” said Chancellor Collins.
One City–One Library is increasing access to appropriate, grade-level reading materials across the city of Worcester by bringing public library branch services into four public elementary schools—one in each quadrant of the city—and expanding mobile library services through the addition of a second mobile library vehicle.
“By ensuring elementary students and neighborhood residents across Worcester have easy access to books, computers and the latest technology to improve reading proficiency, we can open children's eyes to the amazing world of possibilities that education creates,” said Collins.
The schools hosting new branch libraries will be Tatnuck Elementary, Roosevelt Elementary, Burncoat Prep, and Goddard Science and Technology. The libraries will provide services to children during school hours and to neighborhood residents outside of school hours.
Principal Deborah Catamero from Burncoat Prep also was most enthusiastic and stated, “One of our priorities as we strive to make Burncoat Prep a high performing school is for the school and it's wealth of resources to become known as a "highlight" of this community. The One City–One Library initiative will provide us with yet another neighborhood gem right here at the school where we can celebrate and share our love of literacy with both students and adults in the community.”
“National studies have shown that when students have access to library services and school based librarians, they will score higher on standardized achievement test in reading.” said Patty Eppinger who is a member of the committee that helped develop One City–One Library.
All four libraries will have an updated physical facility, new shelving, furniture, and computers including early literacy stations, iPads, e-readers, and other digital media. They will also have updated books, materials and a parenting center. Most importantly, the sites will offer new programs that will make reading fun for everyone.