The Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia has called on Mayor Nutter to reconsider plans to shut down four of the 11 branch libraries targeted for closure as a result of the city's fiscal woes.
The four libraries - Logan, Holmesburg, Haddington and Kingsessing - were all built as part of the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie's historic library-construction project at the beginning of the 20th century.
"It is our view that these libraries should not be closed," John Andrew Gallery, alliance director, wrote in a letter to Nutter. "They are important community landmarks, and that status derives from their function as libraries as much as from their historical and architectural significance."
Nutter was unavailable for comment late yesterday. But last week city officials said they were firm in their plan to close all 11 branches. The libraries are scheduled to close Jan. 1.
Doug Oliver, Nutter's spokesman, said in a written statement last week that the "decision to move forward with the library closures is steadfast, though we will continue to work with our partners to determine potential alternative uses."
Gallery said his group, a nonprofit service and watchdog organization, was more than aware of the city's financial difficulties.
"We recognize that the city must make decisions about budget cuts based on operating-expense issues," he wrote Nutter. "But where such cuts affect historic resources under the city's care, the impact on those historic resources should be a factor in making decisions.
"In this case, we are not confident that the historic significance of these properties has been taken into consideration. Moreover, we are concerned that if they are vacated as libraries and become surplus city properties, they will either decline or be sold or leased in ways that will jeopardize the historic value of the properties."