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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