Glamour/ PO Box 37690/ Boone, IA 50037-2690
Philadelphia Inquirer article written by Jeff Shields – A true melting pot helped spared libraries
ah, an inspiring story for the new year. b/c that’s what new year’s is all about right – starting over, people getting together, hope that this year will be better. this is about a story where mayor nutter, fairly beloved in the city of philadelphia, announced plans to close 11 branch libraries, and how a very diverse group of people came together in a matter of months to organize and demonstrate against such a move. and they were able to win a court-stall of the mayor’s plans. groups of African American block captains, along with white anarchists from West Philly – two groups that normally wouldn’t be seen working together, now mobilizing their communities, getting lawyers and citygroups and everyday people involved to save these libraries. (pictures from a rally to save the libraries held on december 6, and youtube video that the Eagles football team paying their debt back to the city would be enough to save the libraries)
this article talks about how the usual ‘professional’ protesters, those who are anti-establishment, and anti-everything were involved, almost in a ‘of course’ manner. but the strength of this coalition was that other people who may not have been associated with the young anarchists got just as deeply involved. a previously unpolitical 3rd and 4th grade teacher, whose school does not have a library, became a volunteer in the Obama campaign doing all the grassroots heavyduty work of knocking doors and making phone calls. that she felt inspired she was a part of the change got her to become involved in this coalition – a political activist is born.
interesting to note that in 2005, nutter, then a councilman, fought against closing the public libraries, but now as mayor has gone back on that promise. certainly with the current economic atmosphere, it’s hard not to see or understand the pressures of trying to balance a budget with fewer funds and higher costs. but out of all the services a city offers, to look at eliminating the libraries first seems to be counter-intuitive to how to build community, and educate its members. with the libraries that are inefficient in bringing people in, we shouldn’t be closing them down, we should be putting more money and resources into them so they can get back to serving their purpose. now that the plans have been stalled by a court, it’ll be interesting to see how much mayor nutter will fight this decision, and what city services he will choose to cut instead if he can’t close the libraries.