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14 September 2009


amazon grace

I have been in Philadelphia libraries many times--I grew up there. Wow. This is devastating. Of course this is a funding issue (I checked out your link at the top of the article.) Hopefully the Pennsylvania Legislature will act to restore funding. I can't imagine that this would be good publicity for them.

C.S. Lewiston

Boy, I tell ya, I live in upstate New York. I thought *my* home state's government was dysfunctional!

I'm thinking (and hoping) that the library thing is merely an attempt at blackmail by pols playing budget games or trying to counter same. Otherwise, this would set a very bad precedent and threaten to officialize the central principle of Reganism - that there shouldn't be public *anything*. Just think about it, police departments, fire departments and trash collection, all of it managed by the same kinds of free-market entities which have so effectively managed our health care for years...

Liberals believe that access to information should be free. Traditional conservatives believe that everyone should have the means by which to better themselves. Totalitarians don't want people *reading*. That leads to independent thought, fercryinoutloud! What they want is us (and our kids) sitting in front of our TVs watching Fox News or some kind of Madison Avenue mind rot.

Dr. Susan Corso

Amen, Katz! How could they?

Gema Gray

Oh Lord! Don't even get me started!

I had those same Saturday outings to the library back on the UK as a child. I read everything they had in the children's building by the time I was 10 or 12, so the librarian would walk me over to the adult library and supervise me there while I chose books. She made suggestions, explained any potentially inappropriate material to my mother so that it was my parent not her who censored my reading, and generally stimulated my already prolific reading habits.

When my Spanish grandfather came to live with us for 6 months I took him there, and they set him up with everything he needed and showed him their Spanish-language books and newspapers. He spent much of his time there, feeling welcome in what to him in his 80s was a strange land.

But the books were universal...he had fought during the Spanish civil war to protect his local library just as the Fascists were censoring the Spanish greats such as Federico Garcia Lorca. They holed him up in a basement with all the books and gave him a rifle. He was there for months reporting for his literary duty. He taught himself to read that way - never went to school - and began reading with the "A"s and ended with the "Z"s...He remains to this day the most well-read person I have ever met.

People have fought and died for books and libraries and now they're shutting them down! My grandfather is surely restless in his grave tonight.

Sue Katz

Gema, that is a simply amazing story about your Spanish grandfather. Wow. What a picture your have drawn of him in that basement with the books. Thanks.

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