Why the Philadelphia Free Library is putting community before books

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The Business Resource and Innovation Center is below the Heim Center for Cultural and Civic Engagement in the multi-level public space at the Parkway branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

The Business Resource and Innovation Center is below the Heim Center for Cultural and Civic Engagement in the multi-level public space at the Parkway branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

The Free Library of Philadelphia has been changing to meet the needs of the people who use the system — in some cases, clearing out books to make space for new community spaces. Librarians have also taken on new roles, all while budget cutbacks have made it harder to serve communities across 54 branches throughout the city. On this episode of The Why, Philadelphia Inquirer reporter TyLisa Johnson explains why modernizing the Free Library means more than computer labs and e-books.

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