A Book Can Change a Story

Advocate for Libraries with Certified Teacher Librarians in Philadelphia Public Schools

We need your help to restore libraries with certified teacher librarians to Philadelphia public schools! 

The Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools (APPS) and the West Philadelphia Alliance for Children (WePAC) invite you to join a virtual presentation & discussion on restoring and supporting school libraries and librarians in the Philadelphia public schools. We believe that ALL children should have access to a quality school library program that includes a full-time certified teacher librarian, and we need your help to make that happen.

Meeting Agenda:

  • Introduction to APPS and WePAC
  • Brief history of libraries in Philadelphia public schools
  • Academic need for libraries with certified teacher librarians
  • Advocacy measures for libraries with certified teacher librarians


RSVP: Please register to attend the meeting here. Participants will receive a Zoom link via email prior to the event.

Literacy Goals
The School District of Philadelphia/Board of Education has adopted “Goals and Guardrails” to guide its work. Goals #1 & 2 envision that “Every student read on or above grade level.”

School Librarians
Who can help make this vision a reality? Certified teacher librarians! Data from more than 34 statewide studies suggest that students tend to earn better standardized test scores in schools that have strong library programs.

The Need
But, there are only four librarians working in the 200+ traditional public schools in the School District of Philadelphia, even though the District employed 176 certified teacher librarians 30 years ago.

Why Now? 
Now is the time to start restoring librarians to Philadelphia public schools. Philadelphia will have a new superintendent soon, and students need more support to acquire the literacy skills they lost or never learned during the pandemic.

About the Sponsoring Organizations

The Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools (APPS) is a grass-roots organization of parents, community members, and school staff. We believe public schools are the foundation of a democratic society and that true educational reform can only come from a collaboration of parents, educators and community members. Since 2012, we have advocated for providing Philadelphia’s public school students with the high-quality educationto which they are entitled. Contacts: Deborah Grill, dmgrill@yahoo.com; Carol Heinsdorf, cheinsdorf@gmail.com.

The West Philadelphia Alliance for Children (WePAC)
is a non-profit organization founded in 2004 with a mission to promote childhood literacy by engaging volunteers in Philadelphia public schools through re-opening and staffing libraries. In our vision, every Philadelphia student will be empowered with the literacy skills vital to the success of the child and the prosperity of our community. Contact: Jenny Lowman, jenny@wepac.org.

Speaker Bios

Deborah Grill
APPS, Member

Deborah Grill is a retired teacher and certified school librarian, and a member of the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools.  She worked in the District for thirty-four years and taught developmental reading for thirteen years at Shaw and Vaux Jr. High Schools. As a certified teacher librarian, Deborah taught at Pennell Elementary for two years before moving to Roosevelt Middle School to set up the library and develop the school library program. She served there for thirteen years. Deborah closed her career with the District as a literacy coach at Germantown High School.  During her years at Roosevelt, she functioned as the PFT librarian liaison and a Board member of the Philadelphia School Librarians Association.  After she retired from the District, Deborah served as a member of PCCY’s Education Committee and as APSL’s Representative at Path/Prism’s Education First Compact meetings. She has been a Board member of  APPS since its inception in 2012.

Carol Heinsdorf
APPS, Member

  • M.S.L.S. Drexel University
  • National Board Certified Teacher
  • Pennsylvania School Librarians Association (PSLA)/University of Pittsburgh mentor for 10 years in various Leadership Programs
  • Advocate for certified teacher librarians in every school building to the various administrative bodies of the School District of Philadelphia for 20 years, the later years in collaboration Baruch Kintisch, ELC
  • Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools (APPS) member for certified teacher librarian issues and web page support
  • Past President of now dis-banded Association of Philadelphia School Librarians (APSL)
  • Certified teacher librarian for 28 years, 26 years in the SDP

Jenny Lowman
WePAC, Executive Director

Jenny Lowman became the Executive Director of the West Philadelphia Alliance for Children (WePAC) in April 2021.  Prior to that, she wrote grants for WePAC for a year and had been a volunteer in the library at the Blankenburg School for six months before COVID shut down the schools in March 2020.  Before Jenny came to WePAC, she worked for twelve years as a staff attorney and the Director of Client Services and Training at the Education Law Center in Philadelphia.  She is currently a school board member in the Cheltenham School District and the proud parent of two teenagers. Jenny is also a product of Pennsylvania public schools and the child of a retired public school English teacher. She graduated from Lehigh University and Harvard Law School.