The Free Library of Philadelphia has just announced that it will have to close all its doors as of Oct. 2 unless the State Legislature succeeds in passing budget bills that provide much of the library system’s financing. This means that there will not only be any books lent, but that free computer access for low income people will become almost non-existent with serious repercussions for the very serious business of finding a job these days.
Critics have said this is grandstanding, that there are other services that will also disappear—garbage collection will also be drastically curtailed, it seems—if something isn’t done.
That may be, but to think that one of North America’s centers of culture and intellectual excellence will deprive its citizens of information is an absolute horror. Taxes are what we pay for civilized society, and it’s about time that the portion of the population which doesn’t understand that government has a role to play in ordinary life realized what the stakes are.