Letter: Libraries help communities

People appreciate their local library as a resource for reference information, books, periodicals, and more. However, for 47 adult students seeking to improve their literacy skills, the local library has rescued their educational pursuits.

The Family Literacy organization had provided English as a Second Language, General Equivalency Diploma, and citizenship classes in West Grove and Oxford. It was a shock when Family Literacy learned of its loss of government funding which would force the cancellation of these classes. This left stranded 47 adult students with their education on hold.

Fortunately, Family Literacy’s former director Patricia Quynn and Kennett Library’s Filomena Elliott had other ideas. Quynn contacted Elliott who is Kennett Library’s Adult Literacy Program director with news of these canceled classes. ALP already offered similar classes at no charge in Kennett. However, extending classes to West Grove and Oxford would require hiring a teacher, purchasing educational materials, and renting classrooms that were beyond ALP’s budget.

Quynn and Elliott networked within the communities to request help and the response was impressive. The Kennett Library approved additional funding to assist these 47 students. Library directors Lori Schwabenbauer of Avon Grove and Carey Besler of Oxford volunteered classrooms within their facilities. Finally, Chester County Regional Education Services redirected a financial grant to make these extended ALP classes possible.

The happy ending to this near tragedy is that 47 motivated adult students in West Grove and Oxford are now able to continue their literacy education. Well done to our libraries and all who contributed to helping their fellow community members.

Brad Peiper
West Chester
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