Council debates library closing delay

PHILADELPHIA - December 4, 2008 - Students from the Montosouri Genesis school students were among several dozen people who supported a council resolution, urging the mayor to delay the closure.

"I really believe that any public closure warrants more discussion, more deliberations," said Councilwoman Maria Quinonez-Sanchez.

Despite ongoing protests, library closings are part of Mayor Michael Nutter's cost shaving plan to prevent a billion dollar budget deficit. The plan also includes pool closings and layoffs.

But Thursday's resolution addresses a reprieve for libraries while people seek alternative plans and funding.

"Part of the problem has been we don't have a lot of info on what kind of money needed for library. So opportunity to go to the private sector not been there," said Carey Davis of Kingsessing.

The Montessouri Genesis students, like some in Kingsessing say, the neighborhood library serves as the school library.

"Sometimes when we have projects I use non-fiction books and history books," said 4th grader Brianna Harris.

Jim Kinney is one of five council members who acknowledged the difficulty, but voted against delaying library closures.

"We all need to commit ourselves to not misleading people into thinking it's going to change anything, and stop trying to trip up the administration in the very difficult choices they need to make to get us where we need to," Kinney said.

One councilman who supports the delay says, having hope is not the same as being misleading.

"I do take exception to the idea that we are being misleading, or that we are being against the administration," said Councilman Curtis Jones.

Mayor Michael Nutter does not plan to delay library closings. He says he'll continue to work with council to make sure the city has as much service in those 11l ibrary communities as possible.

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