Tag Archives: Philadelphia

Public libraries: Shelved

“THE central branch of the Free Philadelphia Library is an impressive building—its neoclassical facade looming over most of a block. But inside, though chandeliers still hang from the ceilings and the floors are of polished marble, there is a feeling of neglect. A musty taste hangs in the air; many of the books are rather battered. “The building opened in 1927 and we’ve really not touched it since then,” says Siobhan Reardon, the library’s president and director. “And you can tell.” (via The Economist)

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[Philadelphia] Free Library gets its biggest grant ever

“The William Penn Foundation is extending its longtime role as primary benefactor of the Free Library of Philadelphia by awarding the library the biggest grant in the history of either institution. The Free Library will receive $25 million from William Penn over three years, helping to pay for renovations at the Central Library downtown, plus the renovation and expansion of five neighborhood branches in South Philadelphia, central North Philadelphia, Logan, Tacony, and Mount Airy.” (via Philly.com)

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Philadelphia library cooks up culinary literacy

“What’s cooking at the Philadelphia public library? Plenty, now that it has a million-dollar kitchen at its main downtown branch. The library has whipped up an unusual culinary program designed to improve the city’s low literacy rate. Some courses will use recipes and nutrition labels to teach language and math, while others are geared toward immigrant restaurant workers learning English.” (via AP)

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He’s handing in his Library (Company) card

“John Van Horne did not inaugurate the move into the computer age at the Library Company of Philadelphia. When he arrived in 1985, the venerable research archive already had a Wang word processor. Van Horne quickly acquired a fax machine that used thermal paper and cost thousands of dollars.” (via Philly.com)

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West Philly libraries, key to student success, struggle to exist

“While Penn students might dread their weekend visits to Van Pelt Library, it is clear from the crowded cubicles and GSRs that the University would lose a valuable resource if its doors were closed. This is exactly the situation in which Philadelphia elementary school students find themselves. Because of extensive budget cuts, students are locked out of their school libraries without access to books or trained librarians. The School Reform Commission passed a “Doomsday Budget” in late May last year, in which $304 million was cut from Philadelphia schools for the 2013-14 fiscal year. As a result, about 3,800 school employees were laid off, 24 schools were closed and money to extracurricular programs was eliminated.” (via The Daily Pennsylvanian)

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Library hot spot opens at Philadelphia airport

“Philadelphia International Airport has partnered with the Free Library of Philadelphia to bring the library’s electronic resources to airport customers in a brand new Virtual Library Hot Spot. The Virtual Library Hot Spot, situated on the busy walkway between Terminals D and E, will allow customers to log on to the airport’s free Wi-Fi to access the library’s e-books, nearly 1,200 author podcasts, and other digital content. Much of the Free Library’s digital content, including classic titles and podcasts, is available to anyone, but a free library card is necessary to download nonclassic titles and some digital content.” (via Courier-Post)

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Students, Librarians Speak Up For Lack Of Libraries In Phila. Schools

“Librarians in town for a national conference joined Philadelphia public school parents, students and staff, yesterday, to call attention to the lack of libraries in district schools. Inspired by the historic setting of Philadelphia, the group gathered at the Library Company and signed a “Declaration for the right to libraries.” There are just 16 librarians in all 214 district schools– and two of them are paid by anonymous donors.” (via CBS Philly)

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Two [Philadelphia] shuttered school libraries to reopen

“Two school libraries, shuttered last month due to budget cuts, will reopen Tuesday after a donation from an anonymous donor. As The Inquirer reported last month, Central High and Masterman, two of the city’s most prestigious schools, closed their libraries because the district did not fund librarians. Principals of the two schools, magnets that take in top students from across the city, lamented the closures, and said the budget cuts had taken aim at the very heart of their institutions.” (via Philadelphia Inquirer)

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Budget crisis shutters libraries at 2 top schools

“When Central High School opened its new library in 2005 – a $4.5 million research and media hub funded by alumni – Apple named it a national model. Students visited it more than 147,000 times last year, more than 800 visits a day. Masterman School’s library, also bolstered by fund-raising, bustled with students, too, from early morning till late afternoon.” (via Philadelphia Inquirer)

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Responsible borrowing is part of library’s lesson

“Everyday life experiences can teach children lessons – even hard lessons. Unfortunately, the Free Library of Philadelphia is giving up an opportunity to teach its younger patrons a lesson about responsibility. Beginning July 1, the library plans to stop fining children who fail to return books on time. Well-meaning librarians in neighborhood branches recommended eliminating the fines to avoid cutting off poor youngsters seeking library services. Some believe the children are returning books late for reasons beyond their control.”(via Philadelphia Inquirer)

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