Our Mission and History

WePAC’s mission is 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.

The West Philadelphia Alliance for Children (WePAC) is one of the premier nonprofits in Philadelphia providing literacy programs to young students.

WePAC is funded entirely by private dollars and provides all of its services at no cost to schools or to the School District of Philadelphia.

WePAC first offered its services in West Philadelphia during the 2003-04 school year, when it placed six volunteers in one elementary school. It began as an outgrowth of an urban ministry project between Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church and many civic groups, and today is a wholly-independent and non-sectarian 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.

WePAC programs focus on children in grades K-4, during the early and critical years of their educational careers. WePAC volunteers encourage curiosity and foster a lifelong love of reading. Our overarching goal is to bring books, reading, and libraries to low-income schoolchildren who have lost their library or who never had one.

More than 95% of Philadelphia public schools lack a functioning library. Some 40% of our students will drop out of school without graduating, and a child’s reading ability at the end of third grade is a key predictor of dropout risk.

To improve students’ access to libraries and literacy activities, we:

  • Manage 13 school libraries in Philadelphia

    Since 2009, WePAC has opened several school libraries in Philadelphia (primarily in West and Southwest Philadelphia), providing library services in schools to thousands of students each year.  WePAC is the only nonprofit in Philadelphia systematically working to open closed school libraries. WePAC is partnered with 13 public elementary schools in the 2023-2024 school year in providing book access and Read Alouds to students.  Year after year, surveys show that for many students, the school library is the only library they visit, and principals report that many students do not have access to books at home.

  • Read stories with children and help them select and check out library books

    WePAC’s dedicated volunteers read stories with children and help them select and check out books.

  • Donate thousands of books to schools

    Donating thousands of books to schools and circulating more than 4,000 books per month, WePAC brings school libraries to life