9.22.2009

School Libraries in Philly

In the midst of the noise surrounding the potential City shutdown due to the budget, I was pretty distressed to read on the Philadelphia Free Library's site that most public schools do not have a full service library. According to Young Philly Politics, "out of 281 public schools, there are 77 full-time librarians, 31 of which are in the high schools. At the elementary level, when literacy skills are most likely to increase the fastest, more than three-quarters and possibly as high as 80% lack a full-time librarian." Yowza.

And here's more detailed information, as reported by the Association of Philadelphia School Librarians:


  • 78% of schools in Central East Region have NO LIBRARY STAFF.

  • 63% of schools in Central Region have NO LIBRARY STAFF.

  • 70.3% of schools in East Region have NO LIBRARY STAFF.

  • 15% of comprehensive high schools in the school district have NO LIBRARY STAFF.

  • 71% of schools in North Region have NO LIBRARY STAFF.

  • 30% of schools in Northeast Region have NO LIBRARY STAFF.

  • 62.5% of schools in Northwest Region have NO LIBRARY STAFF.

  • 61% of schools in South Region have NO LIBRARY STAFF.

  • 59% of schools in Southwest Region have NO LIBRARY STAFF.

  • 63% of schools in West Region have NO LIBRARY STAFF.


That's some pretty sobering stuff.

The library at the school my children attend has a great library. That is tremendously important to me as library day is my oldest daughter's favorite part of the school week. Books to her, as for me, are like old friends. But perhaps Clarence Day said it best:

The world of books is the most remarkable creation of man:
nothing else that he builds ever lasts monuments fall;
nations perish;
civilization grow old and die out;
new races build others.
But in the world of books are volumes that have seen
this happen again and again and yet live on.
Still young, still as fresh as the day they were written,
still telling men's hearts, of the hearts of men centuries dead.


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