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Judge rules mayor does not have the authority to close 11 city libraries

A Philadelphia judge ruled Tuesday not to close the books on 11 public libraries slated to shut down Wednesday because of budget cuts.

"Keep the libraries open!” That was the chant from protesters Monday of the mayor’s plan to close the libraries.

Neighborhood protesters got what they wanted, but not Mayor Michael Nutter.

Nutter said Tuesday that the closures would save the city $8 million.

But Tuesday’s 11th hour injunction ruled the mayor does not have the authority to close city libraries on his own.

He needs the consent of the City Council, according to the judge.

The ruling came after three council members filed suit against Nutter.

Kathy Scott of union A.F.S.C.M.E. 47 was thrilled with the decision.

"It’s a victory for children, for parents, for patrons who use the libraries, seniors. This is a group who testified how vital libraries are to their communities,” Scott said.

Mayor Nutter feels a little differently.

“I believe the ruling is absolutely in violation of the fundamental tenants of the home-rule charter,” said Nutter.

The mayor says that charter allows him to make operational decisions in order to run the city.

On that basis, the mayor said he intends to appeal the ruling.

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