Philadelphia’s Libraries Face More Cuts – Here Comes the Cavalry
Here’s something fun.
In his latest “Give me the damned soda tax, or else” stunt, M. Nutt is again threatening to kill the city’s libraries and, again, rallies are being planned to stop him. This cut is smaller than the last one – but it’s still there and it still burns.
The baits and switches began in 2008. When the city faced newspaper editorials, protests and angry blogs written by Cheeto-munching shut-ins (similar to this blog and its writer) it scrapped a plan to permanently close 11 branches and instead cut $8 million from the library’s $41 million budget.
Because of that, the Inky reports,
From Oct. 5, 2009, through April 28, an average of 4.2 of the system’s 54 branches have been closed every day due to staffing or building issues, library figures show.
Branches were forced to remain open five days a week instead of six and:
In a nine-month period of fiscal 2010, the number of visits by patrons to Philadelphia branch libraries was down 16 percent over a comparable period in fiscal 2009, McPeak said. In all of fiscal year 2009, there were 6.9 million visits.
And the amount of library materials checked out during that period was down 11 percent.
M. Nutt’s administration says it needs to cut another $20 million from the city budget, which includes $2.5 million from the libraries. This’ll eliminate 53 jobs and cut the schedules of all the system’s branches. And when we say “cut the schedules,” we really mean give all those librarians permanent 3-day weekends. Michael DiBerardinis, the commissioner of parks and recreation as well as a special adviser to the mayor on the Free Library, said after the cuts, the libraries are “certainly not going to be [open] five days a week.”
But maybe this’ll be the Library Revolt: Part II. We’ve linked you over to Inky columns, and they’re at least passive aggressive in their reporting. This is your angry blog (grrrrrr!) and here’s your rally, set to take place Thursday, June 3 in the wee hours of the morning, before you and I wake up and begin sulking about our lives.
EMERGENCY RALLY This Thursday, June 3, 9:15 AM, outside Room 400, City Council Chambers, 4th Floor, City Hall; then we’ll Rally in front of the Mayor’s Office on the 2nd Floor; Organized by the Coalition to Save the Libraries.
Last year, we all saved the libraries!!!, but the Mayor still cut $8 million – 20% of the library budget, reduced library hours from 6 to 5 days a week, and eliminated over 100 positions.
In the last year and a half, through 2009 and much of 2010, rolling closures remained the rule, due to a shortage of security guards and other staff and Library Director Reardon’s “rule of 4,” requiring that 4 people, including a guard, be present in every library, or else the library would be closed.
From October 2009 through April 2010, an average of 4.2 of the system’s 54 branches have been closed EVERY day, due to staffing or building issues.
Due to the rolling closures, in a 9-month period of fiscal year 2010, the number of visits by patrons to branch libraries was down 16% over a comparable period in fiscal 2009.
On March 1, the Mayor pledged to representatives of many of our Friends groups citywide that there would be NO further cuts to our libraries in next year’s budget.
On May 20, the Mayor announced $20 million in cuts to next year’s budget, including $2.5 million in cuts to libraries, in order to cut over 50 library workers and reduce library hours from 5 to 4 days a week. If the Mayor succeeds in his plan, we will have lost 2 out of 6 library days in neighborhood branches during the last 2 years!!!
This plan will be effective July 1, UNLESS WE STOP THESE CUTS TO OUR LIBRARIES!
Come out to the Rally at City Hall on June 3, and spread the word!
On Thursday, June 3, we will begin at 9:15 AM with a press conference/rally outside of City Council chambers, Room 400 on the 4th Floor of City Hall, and then march to the Mayor’s Office on the 2nd Floor. The Rally will focus on cuts to libraries, youth violence prevention programs, and fire companies.
Whether or not you can participate in the Rally, please call the Mayor’s office on Thursday at 215-686-2181. DEMAND NO MORE CUTS TO OUR NEIGHBORHOOD BRANCHES!!!