Sunday, March 21, 2010
The city’s failure to hire security guards as promised has resulted in unexpected closings and shorter hours for libraries across Philadelphia. Many branches have been forced to close the day of or reduce their hours because there was no security guard present. Library rules call for a security guard to be present at all times of operation.
In November the library received approval from the city to hire new guards and the previous problems of unexpected closings and reduced hours were supposed to disappear. However, on Feb. 23 five branches were closed and 18 branches had reduced hours, according to Philly.com. The problem came when the city realized that civil-service hiring procedures had not been followed properly. Individuals at the top of the hiring list were supposed to be offered new positions first but they were not when the library went looking for 10 new guards.
Even when the new guards are hired and begin working Amy Dougherty, executive director of the Friends of the Free Library of Philadelphia, does not expect everything to run smoothly.
“It will help but it is not the ultimate answer,” said Dougherty. “We’re working towards a one size does not fit all policy from the city.”
The policy Dougherty speaks of is the policy that all libraries must have four staff members present along with a security guard to be opened, no matter the library’s size. With many library staff positions cut by the city, it is hard to get four staff members at each library in order to open. One staffer calling out sick can result in the branch shutting down or reducing their hours. Dougherty hopes the city will look into their four staff member present policy and hopefully reduce the number of staffers needed according to the size and use of the library.
By Andrew Wagner and Josh Buzi, Group 39, Spot News
Posted by Andrew Wagner at 8:36 PM