The following feedback came in regarding my recent article about the halted expansion of the central branch of the Free Library, as collected here:
I was at the library last week. I’m not sure the expansion is a necessary ingredient of the Philadelphia ego. Chasing technology as an improvement when the city is not flush is foolish. I can’t imagine it’s a good thing to chase down short attention spans.
Before building it the city should do an evaluation of how much is actually part of the library and not transitory technology.
What only librarians who work in the system know is that the “expansion” makes much less room for books. When the FLP decided to expand the administration it asked librarians at Central to weed one-third of their (flagship, unique) collections. This is a disaster for researchers and readers who rely on Central’s collections.
What many librarians would prefer is to take over the Family Court building which already matches Central for design, is the greener option (only renovation is needed, and maybe a skybridge to connect) and could effectively double the space rather than reducing it, for collections.
Finally, in our enthusiasm for technology, let us not throw out the baby with the bath water. Most books are best read in hard copy, and please do not believe that we will eventually be able to find all that we would like to read on the Internet.
2 thoughts on “PW: Reader response for Free Library expansion story”
Is there way central expansion could be postponed and the money for that instead be used to help keep other braches open. As mosto f us know,Mayor Nutter decided to institute some cutbacks and unfortunately some of the libraries were on that list. As of now the libraries slated to be closed are remaining open, but is it seems like it is only temporary. I know the library wants to expand, but I feel the city would be served much better if the money was used to help other stay open permenantly. These libraries help keep kids off the street and by closing them the effects will ripple out in a most negative manner that would be very hard to reverse. The only questions now are is there enough money to make this happen, how much can be raised, and who is willing take that chance??
Unfortunately, no. Those funds have contractual limitations. For now those library branches are now open until the end of the fiscal year June 30. We’ll have to see from there.