It's standing room only today in Judge Idee Fox's City Hall courtroom as she considers legal challenges to Mayor Nutter's plan to shutter 11 branch libraries due to a budget crisis. The crowd is made up mostly of opponents of the branch closures. But, for library patrons, they sure do need to be shushed a lot. Fox has repeatedly clamped down on audience participation.
"No, no, no," the judge admonished the crowd after the first outburst. "That, we're not going to do. Everyone would like to be here. But not everyone is going to participate. There are witnesses and attorneys."
The crowd continued to snicker through much of this morning's testimony, especially when attorneys challenging the closures asked library patrons if they could simply rely on nearby big chain commercial book stores for reading material and coffee shops for Internet access. Testimony is due to resume at 1:30 p.m. after a 40-minute recess.