“The more that you read, the more things you will know, the more you learn. The more places you’ll go!” These words by the late Theodor Seuss Geisel (know better as Dr. Seuss), are in line with the mission of the West Philadelphia Alliance for Children (WePAC), a Philadelphia non-profit that strives to put books in the hands of Philadelphia’s children and take them places they may otherwise not get to go.
Thirty years ago, every public elementary school in Philadelphia had a library staffed by a librarian. Since then, nearly all of them have been closed. WePAC has re-opened 17 of those libraries, and currently operates 12 libraries in West and Southwest Philadelphia, serving more than 5,000 students.
The National Education Association reports that high school dropouts are 72 percent more likely to be unemployed as compared to high school graduates and nearly 80 percent of incarcerated individuals do not have a high school diploma.