NASHVILLE, Tenn. 11/1/2012. Mayor Karl Dean today announced that the Limitless Libraries program circulated nearly 25,000 items to students at Metro Schools in the first two months of the school years, allowing students further access to books, e-books and other resources beyond what is available in their school libraries.
That is a nearly 4000 percent increase since the 2010-2011 school year, when Limitless Libraries was available in all Metro high schools. During the same two-month period in 2010-2011, just 640 library items were circulated. Limitless Libraries expanded to middle schools last year and elementary schools this school year.
"The success of Limitless Libraries has exceeded all my expectations," Dean said. "Students in our school system now have access to more than 1.6 million items through this partnership with Nashville Public Library. The monthly circulation of books and other items in our schools through Limitless Libraries is equivalent to the circulation at some of our busiest library branches. Our students are reading more than ever before, and Limitless Libraries is helping them pave a way to educational success."
Last year, Limitless Libraries was in 54 Metro Schools. This year, the program has expanded into 128 schools.
Mayor Dean talked about the success of Limitless Libraries program during a visit today to Old Center Elementary School. During his visit, which coincided with National Family Literacy Day, he met with kindergarten students and parents. He also read the book "What To Do If An Elephant Stands On Your Foot" to the kindergarten students. Through a generous donation from the Nashville Public Library Foundation, the kindergarteners were given their own copy of the book to take home with them.
Through Limitless Libraries, more than 23,000 students have become patrons of the city library system. That includes 3,362 elementary school students so far this year who have registered to become first-time public library card holders.
"Limitless Libraries is a great program that expands resources available to students and families in a way that makes good use of taxpayer dollars," said Jesse Register, director of Metro Schools.
School librarians say Limitless Libraries has been especially popular with English Learner students, who often check out movies and books from Nashville Public Library to help family members learn English. Before the program was expanded to elementary schools this year, middle and high school students often checked out books for their younger siblings to help improve their reading.
Additionally, Limitless Libraries has helped students and teachers receive more specialized resources, such as Braille books, foreign language books and Playaways. Playaways are pre-recorded MP3 players, which are especially helpful to EL students and those reading below grade level. Last year, Nashville Public Library's circulation of Playaways increased 26 percent, largely due to Limitless Libraries patrons.
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. The program also has helped modernize collections at school libraries by leveraging the purchasing power of the city library system.