Thursday, September 17, 2009

More Discouraging Economic News

There is more bad news on the economic front. The Free Library of Philadelphia will close its doors! This is perhaps the most tragic of recent events. The closure of an entire library is absolutely devastating news. It is an unspoken truth that needs to be vocalized over, and over, again: this action will hurt more than it will help. We need to rethink our priorities and economic policies when such ignominious actions result.

The official announcement follows:

All Free Library of Philadelphia Customers,

We deeply regret to inform you that without the necessary budgetary legislation by the State Legislature in Harrisburg, the City of Philadelphia will not have the funds to operate our neighborhood branch libraries, regional libraries, or the Parkway Central Library after October 2, 2009.

Specifically, the following will take effect after the close of business, October 2, 2009:

All branch and regional library programs, including programs for children and teens, after school programs, computer classes, and programs for adults, will be cancelled

All Parkway Central Library programs, including children programs, programs to support small businesses and job seekers, computer classes and after school programs, will be cancelled. We are exploring the possibility of relocating the Philadelphia Author Series programs to other non-library facilities.

All library visits to schools, day care centers, senior centers and other community centers will cease.

All community meetings at our branch and regional libraries, and the Parkway Central Library, will be cancelled.

All GED, ABE and ESL programs held at Free Library branches will be discontinued, students should contact their teacher to see if other arrangements are being made.

In addition, all library materials will be due on October 1, 2009. This will result in a diminishing borrowing period for books and other library materials, beginning September 11, 2009. No library materials will be able to be borrowed after September 30, 2009.

Even as we remain hopeful that the State Legislature will act and pass the enabling funding legislation, we wanted to notify all of our customers of this very possible outcome. If you have any questions about impacts to Free Library services, call 215-686-5322, or visit the Free Library of Philadelphia website at If you have questions about changes to City services, or if you want to be kept informed about this situation, we encourage you to contact Philly 311 by calling 3-1-1 between the hours of 8am and 8 pm Monday-Friday, and 9am-5pm Saturdays, e-mail, or visit the City of Philadelphia website at

Finally, recognize Dick Eastman and his diligent work for bringing this news to the broader public audience.

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