The library: a recession sanctuary?

Here's some easy reading.

This Freakonomics article refers to a supposed "public library renaissance," and links to a Boston globe article purporting libraries to being a sort of recession sanctuary.

Just thought I'd quickly link to some nationally-read literature regarding the prevailing topic at hand, in case you might have missed them.

Astounding articles

Given the timing. Nothing like being in a city that's on the cutting edge of new trends.


I have not heard much from readers about usage. Do you go to the library?

I get stuff out all the time. I rotate between about 4 branches. I love to get TV DVDs since we don't have cable, but also a lot of books and guilty pleasure...a number of Broadway show CDs.

I also go to the Rittenhouse Square branch maybe once a month to use their free wireless if I need to kill time in Center City.

Do other people use the library?

Actually, not that the public libary that much

as I'm regularly in a couple of academic libraries. But my mom, who passed away last year, was on a first name basis with all the librarians at Lovett. During her final months, when she had a lot of trouble ambulating, trips to the library were one of the easiest ways to get her energized.

Nutter's lucky she's not still around.

My life would have been totally different without free library

As a kid and as a teenager, I lived in the Holmesburg library. I would be a different person if not for access to that library. It was a great antidote to what I was taught in Phila. parochial schools.

When I went to college (undergrad and grad school at Temple and grad school at Penn) I used university libraries but still used the Central library. It wasn’t until I had my first real job in my early 30’s that I started buying books--other than texts required for courses.

Now I use CCP’s library. It’s not that good, but I can get whatever I want through inter- library loan. When I retire, I intend to be once again a heavy user of the public library.

My son who has never had much money to play with is a very heavy user of the library—Lovett and Central.

My husband who has lived in Philly since the late 60’s when he came here to go to grad school at Penn has never had a Phila. library card. He comes from a more privileged background than I and when he needed a book he tended to go to a bookstore. (I was much more likely to go to a library.) However, now that he is soon to be retired, he is planning to get a library card.

Luckily for us we can drive 10 minutes in one direction and we are at Lovett; if we drive 10 minutes in the opposite direction we are at Chestnut Hill branch-- whereas people in much less affluent neighborhoods are facing the loss of one of their few community resources. There is something really wrong with this picture.

My 'neighborhood' branch is

My 'neighborhood' branch is Central. I go there, but, it seems like a lot of it is for events, etc.

I grew up going to Lovett on school field trips. But, much of my childhood was spent inappropriately climbing on the wooden dragon statue at the NW regional. Does anyone know if that thing is still there?


Central is also my neighborhood branch. Having moved into Philly only recently, I picked up my first Free Library card a few weeks ago - in the midst of this whole ordeal. So far, Central's the only one I've been to.

And, showtunes are awesome, Ray!

- All politics is local.

Olney, Falls of Schuylkill,Independence,PCI, Central

I am partial to Olney since that's the branch I used when teaching in Philly. I couldn't imagine not being at a school that didn't make a regular trip to the library branch (even if you had books in the classroom or a school library, which we did at Lowell). You could always find more things at the library, it was a wonderful , safe public trip, and usually accompanied research, neighborhood walks and discussions, etc.
Unfortunately, when they "revamped" Olney, they seemed to have made it smaller, esp. the children's section (in a location that was burgeoning with kids).

Also, East Falls (although they kicked us out when my 2 year old was crying), Independence, PCI and Central.

joined a few weeks ago

as i said the the librarian at kingsessing, in this age of internet and netflix and amazon, you forget what a wonderful resource you have in libraries until they are threatened by someone who doesn't understand their improtance.

I got a card for my son and for me. He took home a stack of madeline and dr. seuss books, while I brought home lots of dvds, including "The Muppet Movie", "Goodfellas", and "Do the Right Thing". And there are so many more, all for free!

I may never use netflix again. The Mayor and i both like "The Wire" and at my library I can get as many seasons as I want for free, often more quickly than through netflix.

i intend to be a regular patron. And with this crappy winter weather, now my boy and I have a whole new activity, right across the street.

Not yet

At some point I'd like to pay a visit but haven't gotten to it yet since moving into the city from the burbs in 2004. Used to frequent the Chester County library in Exton before that and Sellers in Upper Darby and the Lansdowne library as a kid.

Judging from the branch map I'm almost sqwa' in the middle of Whitman, South, Fumo and Santore and the office is two minutes from Independence. I probably spend more time sitting in the B&N on Rittenhouse Square or the Borders on Chestnut St. when I just want to browse some books or magazines.

Given the availability of the library,the number of times I seem to just get books for free from various sources, and the number of books I just gave away to the anarchist book store near South St., it will be a long time before I purchase a book again.

I go to Central and Kingsessing

Honestly Central about twice as much as my local branch but I also often drive and tend to combine Central trips with sporadic shopping trips to TJ's. Before the whole closing issue came up I had never been in the conference room downstairs which is quite large and available for community groups and such. It has a grand piano. A grand piano! Imagine that - a few blocks from some of the roughest of the rough in SW Philly, highest HIV rates and some of the highest shootings rates in the city - a free conference room with a grand piano available to the public and the walls are thick enough to not disturb people upstairs. The lady at the town hall meeting who called Kingsessing "a diamond in the rough" wasn't kidding.
MrLuigi, my cat, actually only types half as badly as I do.

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