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Philadelphia School Receives Library Makeover

  • At General George G. Meade School in Philadelphia, an elementary/middle school built in 1936 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the youngest books on the shelves of the school library were 15 years old.

    So, imagine the students surprise when they walked into the library recently and saw 13,878 new books, as well as new bookcases, shelving and storage to hold them. 

    The library makeover was the result of the School District of Philadelphia winning the inaugural Richard M. Robinson Literacy Champion Award, named in honor of the late Scholastic Chairman and CEO, Richard (Dick) Robinson. 

    Sponsored by Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education, and media company, in collaboration with the Council of the Great City Schools, the annual award recognizes a Council member school district for demonstrated progress in advancing reading achievement. 

    As the Richard M. Robinson Literacy Champion Award winner, the Philadelphia school district chose the Meade School to receive the grand prize of a library makeover, designed to help increase book access and create a lasting culture of literacy. Students also received take-home book packs to add to their home libraries and encourage independent reading beyond the classroom.

    For Meade principal Akeere Scott-Mack, the library makeover was a dream come true. When she became principal of the school last year, she immediately started applying for grants to replenish the library. So, when she was notified that her school was selected by Philadelphia district officials to receive a library makeover, she was excited. 

    “When students walked into the library and said this was the best library they have ever seen in their entire life, it just made me so happy,” said Scott-Mack after the ribbon cutting ceremony. “For them to have a beautiful space where they can just look through books and cultivate their love for reading is truly wonderful.” 

    She also praised the opportunity for teachers to receive literacy materials as well. “It’s a fresh opportunity for them, a fresh opportunity for students to nourish their love of reading,” said Scott-Mack. “We’re on our way up.”