West Philadelphia Alliance for Children

WePAC renovates and opens closed elementary school libraries, collects and donates books to the libraries, and provides trained volunteers to staff and run the libraries every week. Volunteers read to students, engage them in character and plot, help them select and check out books, and conduct literacy-related activities.

As recently as 25 years ago, every public school in Philadelphia had a professional librarian working in the school library. Now fewer than 10% of Philadelphia’s public schools have a librarian on staff, and nearly all work in high schools. This LEAP Grant will help us to reach new community volunteers, screen and fully train library volunteers for service, provide needed library supplies to promote higher book circulation, and it will allow us to re-open, clean, furnish and stock a school library facility. The cost of opening and running a single school library with volunteer power is approximately $14,000 per year.

Since 2009, WePAC has opened 17 elementary school libraries and currently operates libraries in 12 schools. We are committed to serving our severely resource-depleted traditional public schools. WePAC has a waiting list of school administrators patiently anticipating an opportunity for volunteers to open and support their school’s library. At a time when principals oftentimes cannot afford enough copy paper and pencils for their school, hiring a salaried staff person who is dedicated to running the library is virtually out of the question.

Kids in all communities need to learn to read, today. Help us bring a whole library full of excellent books to the kids in our community!