Library supporters wage quieter campaign

    Pennsylvania House lawmakers are expected to vote on legislation to relieve Philadelphia’s budget crisis. Without the approval of a sales tax hike and pension changes, city officials say they’ll be forced to slash 3,000 jobs and close all libraries. Last year, when Mayor Michael Nutter announced plans to close 11 library branches, the public outcry was quick and loud.

    On Thursday, Pennsylvania House lawmakers are expected to vote on legislation to relieve Philadelphia’s budget crisis. Without the approval of a sales tax hike and pension changes, city officials say they’ll be forced to slash 3,000 jobs and close all libraries. Just last year, when Mayor Michael Nutter announced plans to close eleven library branches, the public outcry was quick and loud.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090909lflibraries.mp3]

    Library advocates protested, they rallied, they even marched to City Hall to drop off petitions against the library closures.

    Amy Dougherty is director of the Friends of the Free Library of Philadelphia, a group that led the fight to keep the libraries open.

    Doughtery: The Friends of the Free Library has engaged our membership in a quieter campaign. letter-writing, phone-calling, faxing, emailing. And we have been reaching out to the Philadelphia delegation and lawmakers across the state urging them to continue to support city and municipal budgets and funding for libraries.

    Dougherty says in the earlier fight to keep libraries open, the group was protesting a budget decision. This situation is different because she says the group does not take a position on legislation.

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