The schools and the library have merged their databases and determined that roughly 98,000 of the school district’s 136,000 students do not yet have cards for the city’s public libraries. Based on that data merge, the library and the district will now distribute personalized library cards to every student without one.
“No matter what your age, no matter what your circumstance, there’s a card that everyone should have,” said [Philadelphia Mayor, David] Nutter as he pulled from his wallet a red and white library card, brandishing it for the cameras to see.
The Free Library has also helped eight district schools set up their own libraries, including [James G.] Blaine [Elementary School].
But like most district schools, Blaine does not staff a librarian. Principal Gianeen Powell said the school has relied on parent volunteers and City Year members to assist with student book borrowing. (Blaine is one of two district elementary schools that have been targeted for district-led renaissance turnaround. The school will stay under Powell’s leadership, but all faculty will have to reapply for their jobs.)
According to the district, only 11 of its 212 schools are currently assigned a librarian from the central office. The district counts J. R. Masterman and Central in this number; these schools had library services returned to students in September following a $205,000 donation from an anonymous benefactor.
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