Posted by: Ian – Sep 14, 2009
It's not just the books. Granted, the books are important. But what else do libraries provide? The Philadelphia libraries operate GED, ESL, and ABE programs. They bring books to schools, day care centers, and retirement homes. They teach computer courses, help small business owners, and host community meetings. Libraries are one of the few places in major cities where the internet can be accessed freely. In short, this is a travesty.
From their website:
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.
Just look at that list of all the things libraries do for our communities, all the ways they help the least among us, the vulnerable, the children, the elderly. Think of every wonderful thing that happened to you among the shelves of a library. Think of the millions of lifelong love-affairs with literacy sparked in the collections of those libraries. Think of every person whose life was forever changed for the better in those buildings.
Think of the nobility of libraries and librarianship, the great scar that the Burning of Alexandria gouged in human history. Think of the archivists who barricaded themselves in the Hermitage during the Siege of Leningrad, slowly starving and freezing to death but refusing to desert their posts for fear that the collections they guarded would become firewood.
Here is the PA General Assembly's website. I don't think that bombarding them with out-of-state calls about their current insanity will help anything, but who knows? Instead of banning individual books, let's just cut off access.