DIRECT ACTION: Democracy Needs Your Help

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“Yesterday, a coalition of major city unions, clergymembers, library users, and community leaders stood together to announce a class action lawsuit to halt the shutdown. But to insure that the courts hear lawsuit effective, we need members of City Council join us as plaintiffs. So click here to ask your district and at-large city council members to join in the suit. Under a law that requires council approval for closing city-owned facilities, the Mayor’s unilateral action to close the libraries is illegal.So click here to tell your council members to stand up for their own rights, and for our libraries, by joining the suit.

Yes, we know that the city has a financial crisis. But the library closings are not about saving money. philadelphia_free_library.jpgAdvocates for the library have proposed alternatives to shutting branches: reducing hours in all branches, finding corporate sponsors for them, and organizing volunteers to help the professional staff at the libraries.The Mayor and the library staff won’t help develop these alternatives. As library director Riordan recently admitted, the library has wanted to shut these branches for five years. Her vision for the library is one with larger central and regional branches and fewer branches.

That vision, however, doesn’t fit the reality of our city of neighborhoods in which branch libraries provide a place for kids to study after school; for seniors to keep their minds active; for job seekers to get information and internet access. Our libraries are community centers and avenues of upward mobility for our young people. In a city with few public school libraries—something director Riordan admits she did not know—and in which it can be dangerous for young people to travel two miles to a nearby library, our neighborhood libraries provide a vital service that cannot be replaced. This law suit is not an end in itself. But it will give us the time to find the funds we need to preserve the vision of our libraries that makes sense for our city”

[via HALLWATCH.ORG]

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