Health, hoops and books under one Philly roof to promote community health and literacy

    Health care, books and recreation are all available under one roof at the Health and Literacy Center in South Philadelphia.

    The brand-new $45 million facility houses a city-run health clinic and rec center, and a public library branch. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, or CHOP, is offering pediatric care on the third floor.

    “It’s one-stop shopping for our families,” said Steve Wilmot, who oversees the South Philadelphia location for CHOP. “To be able to have your doctor say to you, ‘Go downstairs and get a library book on the way out’ or ‘Go see what’s happening at the rec center, maybe there’s a team you can join,’ there’s some trust that’s already there with you and the provider.”

    Wilmot said the co-location will help physicians address issues such as childhood obesity and below grade-level reading abilities.

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    Children’s Hospital providers expect to serve about 13,000 patients in this new location.

    The 96,000-square-foot facility is also home to a branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia. Library president Siobhan Reardon said it’s part of a conscious effort to bring the books where the people are.

    “Everybody goes to the doctor, and our hope is that they’ll come here either before or after,” she said.

    The library space is not quite finished yet, but will feature a “living room” type setup in addition to the more traditional book stacks. The facility will also offer quiet study rooms to community members.

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