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:
Since 2009, WePAC has opened 9 libraries in Philadelphia (primarily in West and Southwest Philadelphia), providing library services in schools with more than 1,750 students. WePAC is the only nonprofit in Philadelphia systematically working to open closed school libraries. WePAC is currently on track to open 13 libraries by the beginning of the 2023-2024 school year. 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.
WePAC’s dedicated volunteers read stories with children and help them select and check out books.
Donating thousands of books to schools and circulating more than 45,151 books per month, WePAC brings school libraries to life!