Another Jesuit from Philadelphia (I'm a proud one) tipped me off to this frankly alarming news story about the closing (temporary, they hope) of all public libraries in the vast Philadelphia Library system, including the massive Free Library of Philadelphia, in Center City, which has been in operation since the 1890s. Their has been lots of spilled ink in the past two years over the future of libraries and even books. Much of it has been prognostication. But the closing of the major metropolitan public library system--which is of inestimable use to the poor, as well as others on a limited budget, to say nothing of scholars and simple lovers of books--is a significant milestone. The story above, ironically, comes from the great Philadelphia Inquirer, which has also been battling for its life of late. A future without libraries and newspapers seems a sad one indeed.
James Martin, SJ