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Philadelphia's libraries scheduled to close starting Oct. 2 due to budget deadlock

September 11, 2009 |  2:43 pm


In a dramatic move, the Philadelphia Free Library System announced today that it will close all branch, regional and central libraries as of Oct. 2. There will be no book loans, no classes, no programs for seniors or children, no outreach to the community, no more community meetings at library locations. Starting today, the library began truncating its loan period.

The library system of one the nation's oldest cities -- which authors Ben Franklin, R. Crumb, Edgar Allen Poe, Louisa May Alcott and Ezra Pound all called home -- stands on the brink of complete closure.

Pennsylvania has yet to pass a budget for this year, and the Philadelphia Free Library is just one of the institutions and services caught in the deadlock. If the state Legislature were to pass a budget, the closure would not, in all likelihood, come to pass.

"Even as we remain hopeful that the State Legislature will act and pass the enabling funding legislation," reads the announcement from Siobhan Reardon, the library's president and director, "we wanted to notify all of our customers of this very possible outcome."

Our hopes to a speedy budget resolution, and maintenance of library services for the people of Philadelphia.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: the Philadelphia Free Library branch in the Northern Liberties neighborhood. Credit: pwbaker via Flickr