Judge Heidi fox has ruled in favor of library advocates. Mayor Nutter
cannot close 11 branches without first getting Philadelphia city council
approval.The end result, all of the branches slated to be permanently
closed as of New Years Eve will remain open. Library advocates have
maintained through this two days hearing that library branches are
essential to the fabric of the community; for the children, their
homework and hobbies and staying out of trouble (see previous stories).
For many single adults libraries help people with job applications and
resumes. And for older adults, just to keep busy, because after all,
they point out, fifty percent of Philadelphians don’t have computers in
their homes.Throughout these two days, the Nutter administration, said
it had to close these library branches because of an overall cutback
because of a worsening budget situation, and because of a state law,
City Hall must balance its budget in a current five-year plan which
projects a one billion dollar deficit.
The judge focused her entire case on an ordinance from 1988, a section
in an ordinance, section 16-43, that says any city owned building cannot
be abandoned or closed without city council approval.