Update: Mayor Nutter and the Free Library of Philadelphia will halt their plans to shut down 11 branch libraries Wednesday after 5:00 p.m after a judge from the Court of Common Pleas ruled against the closures, as reported by Philly.com.
Library supporters will be having a party tomorrow at the Kingsessing branch that was supposed to close. The party will start at 3:30 p.m.
The Kingsessing branch is located at 1201 S. 51st St. in the city.
Some folks in the city of Philadelphia are in an uproar that 11 libraries will be open for the last time Wednesday. Mayor Nutter announced the city is looking for private partners to fund the libraries slated to close.
People wanted their voices heard and they weren’t quiet about it.
At Mayor Nutter’s afternoon press conference protesters listened on as he said he wants the buildings that currently house the libraries turned into Enrichment Centers with the help of private funding.
“We want you to know we are working everyday on strategies and plans for these facilities,” Mayor Nutter said.
The Mayor says five partnerships are in the works. They hope to eventually secure all 11, but in the meantime the after school program LEAP will stay open.
LEAP helps students with homework and offers computer and enrichment programs.
Still, some citizens say that’s not enough.
“We believe libraries are an essential part of communities and part of education, families and children and our whole community lives,” said one protester.
And, people in the community agreed.
Tonya Westbrook is just one of hundreds who gave their opinions to a judge at an injunction Monday morning about why their libraries should stay open. She is an unemployed single mother of two boys and uses the library’s computers to search for a job while her kids use it for their schoolwork.
Westbrook believes that closing the libraries is a poor example to kids as far as values are concerned. Parents and others in the community tell kids libraries are important. And, by closing them, it’s like telling them they’re not THAT important Westbrook told NBC 10.
Reading and writing are necessary in a child's life just ask Sharon Vann. She says the library not only helped her daughter grow socially but academically as well.
“She loves to read. She always had a love of reading. She is in 5th grade but reads at the 9th grade level,” Vann said.
Even kids came out to the press conference seeking answers. After all they are the ones who need the tools at the library to help build a better future.
“The library is a great place to go. It changes kid’s futures,” said Maria Dasilva, a concerned child.
The Mayor says he hopes to eventually secure public private partnerships for all 11 libraries.
But, for now, keeping the LEAP program open is a step in the right direction.
The program will be offered in close proximity to the libraries that are closing and is scheduled to start on January 12th.