logoflp

I know that there are many people who haven't stepped foot in a library in quite some time. But I know that this doesn't imply that they would want all the libraries in their city to vanish.

Unfortunately, for Philly residents, this may soon be their reality. On its Web site, the Free Library of Philadelphia announced: "We deeply regret to inform you that without the necessary budgetary legislation by the state legislature in Harrisburg, the City of Philadelphia will not have the funds to operate our neighborhood branch libraries, regional libraries, or the Parkway Central Library after October 2, 2009."

WTF? How is that possible? How can our country (and its individual states) not have enough money to operate a city's library system? Well, we are talking about the same country that doesn't believe health care should be a universal right.

If the state legislature doesn't pass "enabling funding legislation," the following will happen on Oct. 2, 2009:

--All branch and regional library programs, including programs for children and teens, after school programs, computer classes, and programs for adults, will be canceled.

--All Parkway Central Library programs, including children programs, programs to support small businesses and job seekers, computer classes and after school programs, will be canceled. We are exploring the possibility of relocating the Philadelphia Author Series programs to other non-library facilities.

--All library visits to schools, day care centers, senior centers and other community centers will cease.

--All community meetings at our branch and regional libraries, and the Parkway Central Library, will be canceled.

--All GED, ABE and ESL programs held at Free Library branches will be discontinued, students should contact their teacher to see if other arrangements are being made.

That's deep. What a message to send to young people. We don't need libraries. But jails?

is a writer, speaker, author of books for adults and youth, and the book columnist for The Root. Her most recent book is "The Message: 100 Life Lessons from Hip-Hop’s Greatest Songs." Visit her at feliciapride.com.