Philadelphia Library Closure Protests Continue

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“Saving branches”?

Offering some balm to his critics, Phila. Mayor Nutter has decided that five out of eleven library branches slated for closure would instead be run by private nonprofit or business groups, converted into community “knowledge centers.” According to the Inquirer, he did not identify the branches but said they likely would keep their book collections and computers—but not before being closed for an indefinite period. Though Nutter has said little about how the centers would work, he unambiguously declared that the city had no plans to sell any of the library sites, and would instead lease the facilities to private operators at nominal rates.

Mayor Nutter and Free Library Director Siobhan Reardon were declared “in contempt of the people’s court” by demonstrators and costumed members of Coalition to Save the Libraries last Tuesday. The two were accused of working to sabotage a judge’s ruling to keep open 11 branches that had been scheduled to be shuttered. “I have come to tell Nutter he’s a liar,” said Carolyn Morgan, a Southwest Philadelphia resident. “We will not stand him taking from our children, causing a slow death.”

LIBRARY14A(Photo: Inquirer) Signs are brandished before the rally by Richard Hwang (left) and Matt Rinaldi.

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