With the help of Mayor Jim Kenney’s massive $600 million plan to restore Philadelphia’s public libraries, recreation centers and parks, these libraries will finally begin to find new life, according to a March 14 Philadelphia Inquirer article. Kenney hopes to fund this plan by selling $300 million in bonds, along with around $200 million in supplementary donations and state and federal funding. Those who work closely with Philadelphia’s libraries see first hand the need for this restoration plan.
“We have 54 separate facilities in the library system. Some of them, 17 in fact, are what we call ‘Carnegie libraries,’ which were built when Andrew Carnegie made a gift to the nation to put public libraries in many cities,” Sandra Horrocks, vice president of external affairs of the Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation, said. “Those 17 buildings are all over one hundred years old now, and so they have a lot of physical … problems.”
Although Kenney’s plan is more focused on the funding of the restoration of current structures and not the building of new libraries, Horrocks believes that, in some case, new construction may be necessary. Kenney’s plan still has a ways to go before it is implemented. Each plank of the funding proposal would need to be voted on.
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