A community library created in a partnership between students and faculty in the Department of Nursing and Open Door Ministries in North Philadelphia is one of seven projects in Temple’s 15th OwlCrowd, the university’s crowdfunding program.
The library opened last year, providing books to children at Webster Elementary, a school in the Kensington neighborhood whose students previously went without convenient access to a library. Over a period of about six weeks, Temple students cleaned the space, built and painted shelves and other fixtures, and decorated the walls with quotes, artwork, and inspirational messages about the power of reading. They also rallied for books, amassing more than 6,000 in total.
According to Rodney Timmons, a pastor at Open Door Ministries, the space could ultimately be used as a center to meet an abundance of services: the library, after-school programs and tutoring, physical activities and sports in the building’s gymnasium, and even skills and job training for parents in computer labs.
The additional funds will cover repairs in the community center; provide additional carpeting, shelving, tables, and seating areas; and purchase books that are more culturally diverse and representative. By the campaign’s end on May 4, the Nursing Department, Open Door Ministries and Webster Elementary hope to raise $5,000.
The work with Open Door Ministries is part of the nursing program’s “Community Home” curriculum, in which BSN students are immersed in a Philadelphia neighborhood beginning in their sophomore year and lasting until they graduate. In addition to opening the library, the students assigned to this community teach health classes at Webster every Monday and assist with a soup kitchen through Open Door Ministries; on Wednesdays, a second group of students teaches health classes and is working with the church on building a community garden.