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“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”

                                                                                               -Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Libraries can and should play a crucial role in empowering diverse populations for full participation. A Roots & Cultural Library provides diverse materials and services to meet the community’s personal, cultural, educational, and professional needs. The Roots & Cultural Library will be committed to providing and supporting a lifelong enjoyment of history, reading, learning and the arts to both the students of Martin Luther King High School and the general public; providing a doorway into understanding better, their cultural heritage.

We are asking the Philadelphia School District to support us and commit to a portion of the funding.  Our plan is to apply for grants, fundraising for the remainder through charitable foundations, grants and individual donors.

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The chosen architect for the project is

Kelly/Maiello Inc. Architects & Planners; 

A diverse team that reflects the clients and community they serve. Since 1976, embracing new clients, technologies, materials and building types. The current leadership transition began the gradual and continuous evolution from the firm's identification with the two founding principals, Emanuel Kelly FAIA and Vincent Maiello AIA (retired). Principals now include Troy C. Leonard AIA, James Karmolinski AIA and Brian Yachyshen AIA.





Projects in Education:

Civic/Cultural Projects:




The renovation of our outdated, underutilized library space:


Martin Luther King High needs a new vibrant, updated common space that fosters student learning, independent research and college readiness.  

The new design should include:

  • collaborative work spaces

  • individual study pods

  • computer research lab

  • symposium spaces for larger presentations

  • creative writing lab

  • a new public entrance for public entry

  • ability to display artifacts, hang art work and decorative pieces throughout the space

  • incorporate a small juice & coffee bar



The following committees are needed 

  •  Planning & Design: function, purpose, layout; usage, patrons

  •  Funding: seed money, long term funding, grants,

  •  Marketing: Public Relations, Media, 

  • Content and Materials: 

  • Technology: 

  • Advisory Committee


 Things to think of when designing a space;

  • amount of traffic

  • traffic flow

  • emergency egress

  • function

  • Hours of operation

  • Usage requirements per function

  • adjacencies

  • occupant interaction

  • lighting and use of natural light




Departmental Breakdown




Library administration departments take care of day-to-day administrative operations that keep the library functioning smoothly. These responsibilities include documentation of library staff employment and time-keeping details, payment of invoices for services rendered to the library, creation and maintenance of library budget reports, ordering of supplies for the library and for its staff, and maintenance of the library's facilities.



Cataloging departments create and maintain libraries’ online catalog of both physical and virtual collections. Cataloging librarians and staff describe, classify, and provide indexing of the libraries’ materials; do quality control of the catalog’s records; and do general database management so that the library’s materials are organized for retrieval by library users.


Circulation/access services

Circulation departments facilitate physical and virtual access to library materials, maintain the library collections, assist library users, (in academic library) coordinate the use and lending course of reserve materials, and perform other activities related to library use and access.


collection development/acquisitions

Collection development departments manage the purchase and processing of library resources. Their duties include purchasing items, coordinating licensing and access of electronic products, conducting collection assessments, and (in academic libraries) providing information for academic reporting needs such as accreditations, program reviews, and new degree proposals.


Digital Collections

Digital collections departments manage and provide online access to library resources, collections, and repositories. They identify, digitize, and preserve information resources of cultural, historical, scholarly, educational, community, and civic interest.


Government Documents

Government documents departments collecting, organize, and promote government information from the local to international level, providing free access, instruction, and reference assistance in the use of this information to library users and community members.


Interlibrary Loan/Resource Sharing

Interlibrary loan (also known as resource sharing) departments work with other libraries and institutions to acquire/receive, process, pay for, and provide library materials not available at the home library.



Reference departments provide information, research, and instructional services to all library users, including in person and online reference help, bibliographic instruction classes, tutorials, research guides, (in academic libraries) subject specialist support, and much more.


Special Collections/Archives

Special collections departments acquire, preserve, and provide access to unique primary source materials such as rare books, manuscripts, archives, artifacts, and media.


Sound & Image

Sound & Image departments maintain and provide access to audiovisual resources such as DVDs, streaming video, LPs and CDs, slides, and much more. They may also provide technology used to play these resources such as VCRs and record players.



Systems departments provide technology service to library users, staff, and the community. They may create and maintain the library website and conduct other programming activities.




Special Interest


Special collections (Spec. Coll. or S.C.) are libraries or library units that house materials requiring specialized security and user services.


Materials housed in special collections can be in any format (including rare books, manuscripts, photographs, archives, ephemera, and digital records), and are generally characterized by their artifactual or monetary value, physical format, uniqueness or rarity, and/or an institutional commitment to long-term preservation and access.[1] They can also include association with important figures or institutions in history, culture, politics, sciences, or the arts.[2]


Individual libraries or archival institutions determine for themselves what constitute their own special collections, resulting in a somewhat mutable definition. For research libraries, a special collections area or division can be a fundamental part of their mission. Some special collections are standalone institutions that are privately funded, such as the Newberry Library or the American Antiquarian Society while others are part of a larger institution, such as the Beinecke Library at Yale University. Many American university special collections grew out of the merging of rare book rooms and manuscripts departments in a university's library system.


In contrast to general (or circulating) libraries, the uniqueness of special collections means that they are not easily replaced (if at all) and therefore require a higher level of security and handling.



The primary function of a special collections division is to foster research by providing researchers access to items while ensuring their longevity. Many staff members involved with special collections have either advanced degrees or specialized training related to the collections for which they are responsible



Items in a special collection are usually stored in closed stacks (not directly accessible to library patrons) which contain noncirculating items, meaning that items cannot be loaned or otherwise removed from the premises. Access to materials is usually under supervision. Depending on the policies of an institution holding special collections, researchers may be asked to present identification cards, letters of reference, or other credentials to gain access


Most special collections are stored in areas in which the temperature, humidity, illumination, and other environmental conditions are carefully monitored to ensure the integrity of materials, and adequate security is provided to protect the materials from unauthorized access, theft, and vandalism.


Offsite storage facilities have become increasingly popular among institutions holding special collections. Most libraries consider it their mandate to maintain acquisition of new collections, although the limitations of their physical plants may not be able to handle all that is acquired. Storing materials offsite allows flexibility in how libraries design and apportion their space and provides security for materials. The 2010 "Taking Our Pulse" report cites a survey in which 67% of responding institutions use offsite facilities, with another 5% in planning stages


Reading room characteristics

Special reading rooms are often provided to minimize the risk to holdings while being consulted by patrons, which are sometimes monitored by library personnel who also provide reference assistance and relay requests for materials. Rules often apply to use of materials in order to protect against inadvertent damage; Writing implements which use ink are very commonly prohibited, as well as flash photography, use of mobile phones, and the presence of food and beverages. Protective gloves are sometimes required when consulting particularly delicate materials, photographs, and metal objects, and many libraries may require that books be read only while resting in special cradles.

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Content & Material

In addition to the required reading and standard text for faculty and students, it is also our intent to expand and provide works of historical and cultural content and significance to better address education of our students and community on the history of Black America based on living truths and facts through videos, articles, pictures,  visiting exhibits and the use of rare and authentic artifacts. Below are some of the books we are seeking to be a part of the new library  (Suggestions welcomed)





“The African Origin Of Civilization: Myth or Reality” By Cheikh Anta Diop

"Developmental Psychology of the Black Child” by Amos N. Wilson

“The Mis-Education of the Negro” by Carter Godwin Woodson

“The Autobiography of Malcolm X” as told to Alex Haley

“PowerNomics” by Claud Anderson

“Blueprint for Black Power” by Amos Wilson

“The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey” by Jacques Garvey

“The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors” by Dr. Frances Cress Welsing

“The Wretched of the Earth” by Frantz Fanon

“Yurugu: An Afrikan-Centered Critique of European Cultural Thought and Behaviour” by Marimba Ani

"The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness" by Michelle Alexander

"The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America" by Khalil Gibran Muhammad

"Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America" by Ibram X. Kendi

"Between the World and Me" by Ta-Nehisi Coates

"Assata" by Assata Shakur

"Breathe: A Letter to My Sons" by Imani Perry

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