Memphis Street Academy gets a new library

The library will be open until 5:30 each day for students to complete their homework, utilize the library’s technology and “achieve academically in a setting that is safe and focused on career and college readiness.”

Officials from Memphis Street Academy and American Paradigm Schools were on hand Friday morning for the ribbon-cutting of the school’s new library, which was built thanks in part from a $30,000 donation from American Paradigm Schools President and CEO Gerald Santilli. 

“Here at Memphis Street Academy, one of our goals is to offer a caring and customized learning experience,” said Naimah Holliday-Wimberly, CEO of Memphis Street Academy. “In offering a library for students helps to support their reading comprehension, their vocabulary.”

According to Holliday-Wimberly, Memphis Street Academy is one of only eight schools in the school district that have functioning libraries. She said the library will be open until 5:30 p.m. each day for students to complete their homework, utilize the library’s technology and “achieve academically in a setting that is safe and focused on career and college readiness.”

“American Paradigm is an unusual charter management organization in that we customize our programs for the school depending on the community,” Santilli said. “But there are three or four non-negotiables that go into a contract with American Paradigm. One is early literacy in the library.”

Naimah Holliday-Wimberly, CEO of Memphis Street Academy, cuts the ribbon on Memphis Street Academy’s newest library.

Santilli’s donation was used in part to purchase 2,500 books for the library.

“Libraries today are full of technology, but there’s nothing like the experience of reading a printed book,” said Sandra Farmer, president of Memphis Street Academy’s Board of Trustees. “I’m glad we’re moving forward with that.”

M&T Bank also donated hundreds of books to the newly renovated library, totaling its book collection to over 3,000.

“We’re proud to work with organizations like American Paradigm Schools that continue to provide literacy resources to its communities,” said M&T Bank Vice President and APS Board Member Rick Ellis, in a press release. “It’s exciting to see tangible investments like this being made in education, and we look forward to replicating these efforts throughout Philadelphia.”

In celebration of the library’s grand reopening, Memphis Street Academy plans to host a variety of after-school activities and extend its hours of operation after school for students interested in checking out books. The library is staffed with skilled librarians who will assist each student with receiving personal library cards.

“The students are excited and they have been watching it grow as we have been working hard,” said librarian Natasha Brown. “Books stimulate the brain, help with comprehension, and increase vocabulary so my hope for students here at Memphis Street Academy is that our scholars and leaders of the future will become avid readers.”

View pictures of the new library below here: