Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Philadelphia Libraries receive stay of execution

Here and Now had an interesting story today about how the Philly Public libraries received a court order today to remain open, after the Mayor declared he would be closing 11 branches to save money. Philly's inner city unemployment is 1 in 4 people, according to the radio show, and 50% of the people who come to the library have no computer at home. They also mentioned that only 25% of the schools still have libraries open in the Philly area, and those libraries are only open during school hours and are often not staffed by qualified librarians. Mayor Michael Nutter, had been named Library Journal's "Politician of the Year" in 2005 - guess no honorary naming goes unpunished, when a city's running a deficit.

I've been to several of the local Phoenix library branches. They are Massively Used, busy, crowded, well staffed, and that was a Wednesday afternoon school day earlier in December.

Dostoyevsky said 'a society can be judged by the state of its prisons'. I'd modify that, since the US is such a plutocratic litigious society where more money buys more clemency and leniency, and say instead: 'a society can be judged by the state of its prisons, libraries, public schools, and non-religious soup kitchens.'

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