The brunt of Philadelphia’s schools crisis–think shuttered schools in low-income neighborhoods–has fallen on the less celebrated of Philadelphia’s traditional public schools. But the ongoing funding crunch proves that no one’s immune in this period of painful austerity. Central and Masterman high schools, perhaps the two best-reputed public schools in Philly, have been forced to shutter their beloved libraries.
When Central High School opened its new library in 2005 – a $4.5 million research and media hub funded by alumni – Apple named it a national model. Students visited it more than 147,000 times last year, more than 800 visits a day.
Now, along with its librarian, it’s closed. Same goes for Masterman. Unfortunately, as money’s gotten tight and the world has gone digital, libraries have become less and less common in Philly public schools. By 2011, there were only 65–down from 176 fifteen years earlier. This year, only 15 remain. The schools plan to take students to city libraries, but they won’t be able to check out books. [Inquirer]