I saw this remarked on a couple of sites (Boing Boing, Daring Fireball). According to the library system’s own announcement, the closure is due to failure to pass a funding bill in the state legislature in time for the current or upcoming budget cycle. The way the announcement is worded, particular towards the end, it sounds like it may be possible that funding will be secured in time to keep the city’s libraries open.
Cory’s comments are particular evocative, concluding with:
Picture an entire city, a modern, wealthy place, in the richest country in the world, in which the vital services provided by libraries are withdrawn due to political brinksmanship and an unwillingness to spare one banker’s bonus worth of tax-dollars to sustain an entire region’s connection with human culture and knowledge and community.
I don’t know the state politics involved. I’d welcome any of my friends in Philly to contact me and fill me in. I’d really like to know the full story. Whether it is as petty as Cory makes out or not, the consequences are still as lamentable as he describes. Read his full post for the litany of services that will go dark, often for those most in need of public access.
Here in DC, we are no strangers to this sort of legislative bickering through operational budgets. It rarely is easily resolved, usually the sign of other, more palatable compromises being exhausted. The silver lining is that no one is suggesting this is a permanent closure which would be a wanton waste and a true crime against the city’s citizenry.