Staff shortage abruptly closing some Phila. libraries

    The Philadelphia Free Library has been increasingly forced to temporarily close libraries unexpectedly due to staff shortages. Library officials attribute the uptick in one-day closures to recent layoffs and city and state budget cuts.

    The Philadelphia Free Library has been increasingly forced to temporarily close libraries unexpectedly due to staff shortages.  Library officials attribute the uptick in one-day closures to recent layoffs and city and state budget cuts.

    Free Library Director Siobhan Reardon says most of the unexpected library closings can be chalked up to one thing: there aren’t enough municipal guards to staff the building.  She says since guards clean and secure the building – they’re a critical component of the staffing roster.

    Listen:
    [audio: 091214lflibrary.mp3]

    Reardon: I think we’re doing a pretty good job trying to keep as many open given the budget cuts that we’ve received. We hope to thin that number down as far as possible but its hard for me to guarantee that at any point in time we’re going to be able to keep everything open all the time.

    Reardon says hopefully the number of unexpected closings will soon drop because the city has given the library the okay to hire eight more guards.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.