Testimony of Barbara McDowell Dowdall to the Board of Education, October 17, 2019

Germantown Dreams

I need to change my subject this evening with a dedication to Dorothy Goldstein Kapenstein, Girls’ High alumna archivist and Philadelphia public school librarian extraordinaire who died Tuesday at the age of almost 91. Never a driver, she traveled by several buses daily to and from Wanamaker Junior High where among her myriad (I won’t even mention her stamp collection) ways of involving students in active research and learning was the nearby Freedom Theatre project: mapping the history of the neighborhood, detailing the long history of the building, and finally attending performances there*. She lived long enough, sadly, to witness the evisceration of our school libraries with her Certified Teacher Librarian colleagues. I will provide the Board tonight with copies of an interview from our Fall 2007 Alumnae News. I can assure you that Dorothy’s dream would be the same as that of every school in our public system: a richly-resourced, professionally-staffed library.     Between now and next month when I return to the subject of Germantown Dreams,  you can begin contact with a valuable group of stakeholders, Northwest Philadelphia Public Schools (NW PHL).