Did you know that less than 5% of Philadelphia Public K-8 schools have a functioning library?
The Bache-Martin School is a Philadelphia School District K-8 public school serving that Fairmount, Francisville, and Spring Garden neighborhoods, each of which is increasingly socioeconomically and racially diverse. Bache-Martin has the potential to be a model American public school, in that its students and families are representative of the great range of our country in a time when Americans are tending toward silos of likeness. The budgetary woes of the District, however, hinder this balance, leaving Bache-Martin underfunded and under-resourced. Our school library was shuttered by budget cuts and reading material inventory was outdated or damaged. Students and parents asked why we were relegated to using books missing pages or lacking current themes while wealthier suburban school districts benefited from an average of anywhere from 20-50 books per student. Lack of a library, which should be a central hub of the school’s literacy projects and partnerships, sent a message to constituents that Bache-Martin could not deliver basic educational tools to support and promote academic success.
We know that a school library with sufficient, relevant, and upgraded inventory can help strike a more equitable balance between students who have access to books outside of school, and those who don’t. Research demonstrates a correlation between school library access and test score improvements. A 2007 study by the American Association of School Libraries suggests that libraries help foster information literate students, critical thinkers, informed decision makers, and productive members of society.
In the face of these deficiencies, however, strong parental and community participation was a driving force behind improvements and vision. The Friends of Bache-Martin have successfully re-opened the school’s library as of November 26, 2018. We are thrilled to celebrate the opening of our library. Here is what our library has:
- 10,000+ books of fiction and nonfiction, including multiple languages and large format books
- A collection that meets the standards per the American Library Association
- 30 portable fold-up stools (just like the art museum has!)
- A new cloud-based library inventory management system
- Various annual magazine and online subscriptions
- New shelving and book carts
- A rocking chair for story time
- A part-time Library Coordinator to assist the classes with book checkouts, research projects, after-school book clubs, volunteer coordination, and other programming!
The Friends of Bache-Martin would like to thank the many Fairmount/Francisville/Spring Garden community members and businesses who made these successes possible:
- Andeer Family
- Bache-Martin HSA
- Bache-Martin staff and teachers
- Beneficial Bank
- Jessica Kahn
- Kratz Family
- Nina Liou
- Redemption City Church
- Residents of Philadelphian
- Rotary Club of Philadelphia
- School District of Philadelphia Grants Department
- School District of Philadelphia office of Strategic Partnerships
- St Joseph’s Prep
- Villanova University