Philadelphia Alliance to Restore School Librarians (PARSL) works to restore libraries staffed with certified teacher librarians in Philly schools.

Vision of PARSL:

The Philadelphia Alliance to Restore School Librarians (PARSL) envisions a world in which all Philadelphia students are empowered by their school librarians and library programs to develop the self-confidence, skills, and attitudes to:

  • Develop a habit of reading to learn and reading for enjoyment
  • Access, interpret, and critically analyze information they read, hear, and view
  • Pursue, build, and share ideas and knowledge 
  • Develop an understanding of and respect for diverse people and perspectives

Do you know that:

  • Two out of three children in Philadelphia cannot read on grade level by 4th grade.
  • Children who can’t read on grade level by 4th grade are six times more likely to drop out of school.
  • Research shows that students who attend schools with full-time, professional school librarians score significantly better on reading tests than students whose schools don’t have librarians.
  • The School District of Philadelphia had 176 librarians for 259 schools in 1991, but the district stopped funding school librarian positions in the late 1990s and closed its Office of School Libraries in the mid-2000s.
  • The School District of Philadelphia currently only has the equivalent of TWO full-time certified librarian for its 217 schools and 116,000+ students.

This is where the
Philadelphia Alliance to Restore School Librarians (PARSL) comes in!

Mission of PARSL:

The Philadelphia Alliance to Restore School Librarians seeks to partner with the School District of Philadelphia to co-create a strategic growth plan for the development of effective library programs with certified teacher librarians in all schools across the district.  Effective library programs in each school will be characterized by:

  • the leadership, instruction, and management of a certified school librarian;
  • a safe, inclusive, inviting, and dedicated space;
  • a diverse and up-to-date collection designed to inspire the joy of reading with children and allow them to see themselves reflected in texts while also opening up other worlds to them
  • technologies to access and create information; and
  • a planned curriculum of information, inquiry, and media instruction that empowers students with the skills and attitudes for their personal, social, and academic growth

PARSL is a 100% volunteer-run organization. 

We can't do this work alone. We need your help! If you are interested in learning more or volunteering with PARSL, here are some ways you can get involved:

Thank you for your support!

PARSL is led by a Core Committee and a Steering Committee. PARSL's Core Committee members include:

  • Jenny Lowman, PARSL Coordinator, Grants Office, Eastern University
  • Corinne Brady, Program Coordinator, Library Volunteers, John B. Kelly School
  • Deb Grill, Retired School Librarian, SDP; Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools (APPS), Library Advocacy
  • Deb Kachel, Retired School Librarian, Online Professor, Antioch University Seattle, Pennsylvania School Libraries Association, Advocacy Committee
  • Dr. Barb Stripling, Retired School Librarian, Administrator, Educator, Professor Emerita, Syracuse University 2013-2014, President, American Library Association