From lying in front of doors to beseeching Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to help, ideas for keeping the city from shuttering 11 library branches circulated among two dozen people who attended a Friends of the Free Library meeting yesterday.

The brainstorming session at the Central Library on Vine Street was the first attempt to form a coalition to fight the closings, part of Mayor Nutter's ambitious and painful strategy for bridging a five-year $1 billion budget gap.

"Our plan is to make such loud noises that our local politicians, our state politicians and hopefully right up to the federal level, understand that this is not a good plan," said Amy Dougherty, the group's executive director.

In addition to the branch closings, the mayor has proposed cutting 71 library staffers and slashing $1.6 million from the collections' budget.

Dougherty said the Friends, a nonprofit advocacy group, was excluded from the decision-making process and does not know why those 11 branches - four of them created by industrialist Andrew Carnegie - were selected.

The 11 are in mostly lower-income areas that have no other libraries nearby and where public schools do not have libraries of their own.

"How do they expect children to do their homework when those libraries are closed?," asked Daphne Harris of South Philadelphia, whose neighborhood library, Walnut West, is not targeted.

But children aren't the only ones who use the facilities, residents said. People without computers, job-hunters and senior citizens all use the 54-branch system.

Dougherty said libraries took the biggest hit in the wide-ranging plan to tackle the budget shortfall. Moreover, the 11 targeted branches will be closed permanently and sold, even though some of them are historic buildings.

"We sure need pools in the summer but pools don't change people's lives. Libraries do," Dougherty said, referring to the proposed closing of 68 of 81 city pools.

In addition to several rallies at library branches - tomorrow at Fishtown; Nov. 17 at Holmesburg; Nov. 22 at Kingsessing; and Dec. 6 at Central - the group is hoping to get national figures such as Sen. Clinton involved.

State Rep. Mark Cohen, whose Northeast district contains two of the targeted branches, said it was "outrageous and deeply wrong" to cut libraries for lower-income people.

"Cutting the services of low-income people in order to cut taxes for high-income people ... is indefensible," he said, noting that libraries in the city's wealthiest neighborhoods, Center City and Chestnut Hill, had not been touched.