Philadelphia Alliance for Restoring Librarians (PARSL)

School District of Philadelphia Board of Education Action Meeting Testimony

January 26, 2023

by Cynthia Wright

Good evening, Superintendent Watlington and School Board Members. My
name is Cynthia Wright, and I am the Youth Leadership Development Manager
for the Salvation Army of Philadelphia Kroc Center. I had the opportunity to
attend the back-to-school night at the John B. Kelly Elementary school in
Germantown in the fall. It was at this event that I learned about the school’s
Library Volunteers Program.

I decided immediately that I wanted to be a part of this very important
program. I myself was a student at John B. Kelly where I was a hall monitor,
worked with the crossing guard as a safety and most meaningful to me
worked in the school’s library. I loved my job in the library. I was already an
avid reader and working in the library provided me the opportunity to
develop an appreciation for books and the written word. I was shocked to
learn that the school had gone without a library for many years and that this
library at John B. Kelly was revived through the hard work of volunteers.

As a volunteer I am in support of a local grassroots group called Philadelphia
Alliance for Restoring Librarians or (PARSL for short) that would like to work
with the School District of Philadelphia to have effective school libraries with
certified school librarians in all IT’S PUBLIC schools. Volunteers simply
cannot do the job of certified teacher librarians. The libraries and librarians
are an essential and needed component of every student’s learning program. I
am so glad that this group has been formed to bring people together who
believe in the power of school libraries to inspire kids. I hope you will be
inspired too. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak with you this