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Brotherly Love: Filling Empty School Libraries

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Many Philadelphia schools suffer from a lack of books. To many adults who grew up with school libraries, it’s inconceivable that some kids today don’t have them. One woman has made it a mission to give kids the experiences she had.

This bright room at Fitler Academics Plus School in Germantown has the bones of a library: shelves, posters, reading light. But it wasn’t until recently that this room had the heart of a library: books! Boxes and boxes of them, all donations collected for the school by Chestnut Hill College professor Jessica Kahn.

“Dr. Kahn has spearheaded a spectacular book drive for this school,” said Willette Jones, the principal at Fitler Academics Plus.

Ever since hearing that some schools in the Philadelphia School District don’t have books in their libraries like Fitler now does, Kahn has become set on changing that.

“Every school should have a library. It’s a crime that they don’t,” Kahn said. “Children who read, succeed.”

Kahn, who is volunteering her time, found it’s pretty easy to get books.

“The thing is, when children are done with books, they’re done with them. And nobody throws away a book,” she said.

Once Kahn gets all the donations, she and Fitler’s library aide catalogue them, adding stickers and bar codes.

“Now that we have a library, I can’t imagine how we functioned without a library,” said Jones.

The kids here can rattle off their favorites.

Cat in the Hat,” said Nadia Lester.

Batman,” said Jeremiah Baynard.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” said Derrick Boyd.

Sherlock Holmes,” said Saniyah Rockman.

When their new library officially opens in May, they’ll find much more to love.

The eighth graders at Fitler also helped raise money for books.

If you have books you would like to donate to Jessica Kahn’s efforts, email her at jkahn@chc.edu.

This book collection effort goes way beyond one school. The Philadelphia School District is also collecting books for several area high schools in a project called Read For Your Life. If you would like to donate to them, go to www.philasd.org/readforyourlife.

Watch the video…

Reported by Dave Huddleston, CBS 3

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