The Moffet Movement builds a library

When Touma was first hired two years ago, transforming the school’s outdated and uninviting library was the first item on her agenda for the Moffet Movement. At the very end of last month, Moffet finally checked that box.

Moffet School’s library after its renovation | Photo by Tom Beck

Sarah Touma, principal at John Moffet School, calls it “The Moffet Movement.”

“We consider the moffet movement to be the act of taking our school to the next level, moving it from good to great, and doing it with all the help of our key stakeholders,” she said. “Teachers, school, students and staff.”

When Touma was first hired two years ago, transforming the school’s outdated and uninviting library was the first item on her agenda for the Moffet Movement. At the very end of last month, Moffet, at 127 W. Oxford St., finally checked that box.

“This library and the renovation project is serving as the catalyst to what we were trying to create here at Moffet,” said Touma. “It just creates passion for learning.”

According to Touma, the library’s renovation was mostly a community effort. The School District of Philadelphia funded the new tiling on the floor (replacing the ugly, moldy-looking green carpeting that was there previously) and donated some bookshelves to the cause. But every other upgrade – including lots of book donations – was tackled by the community.

“We started off by [painting] the library with some murals,” said Touma. “People donated their time, throw rugs, books and furniture. PlayArts built a reading nook for us – just people chipping in. People from the neighborhood.”

Moffet School’s library before its renovation | Photo submitted by Sarah Touma

The school held a ribbon cutting for the event on May 31, which was attended by the school district’s superintendent, Dr. Bill Hite, and everybody else who was instrumental in completing the library. But before the ribbon cutting, the school allowed students into the library the Thursday before for a special “preview” day. According to Touma, rather than checking out the cool new book-reading nooks or the fresh paint on the walls, the students ran to the books.

“We really focused on purchasing culturally relevant books,” Touma said. “It was important for us to have our kids see themselves in the books, and they absolutely were just astonished, so it’s been awesome.”

In addition to the ribbon cutting, the school played host to a Comcast Cares Day, in which community members and Comcast employees helped organize and clean the new collection of books.

On the whole, the library looks brighter, more welcoming and presents a more learning-conducive experience than before.

“The library,” Touma said, “was the very beginning of the Moffet Movement.”

While the library looks great aesthetically, the cherry on top for Moffet would be more new books for students. In fact, Moffet has an Amazon Wish List full of books it would like for its library. If you’re interested in donating a book to Moffet’s library, check out the list of books the school is requesting at the Amazon Wish List here.

See before and after photos of the library below: