A recent opinion piece called into question the Free Library's place in our digital world. A quick stop on freelibrary.org — our "online branch" which receives 8 million unique visits annually — immediately highlights just how relevant and digitally savvy the Free Library is. There, users will quickly and easily find access to:

More than 30,000 ebooks for checkout;

Streaming and downloadable popular music;

Hundreds of podcasts from our renowned Author Events series, which are downloaded at a rate of 26,000 per month;

Digital databases that help our customers do everything from trace their family trees to learn a new language online;

Digital exhibitions and collections of thousands of images from our special collections.

In addition, free Wi-Fi is available in every one of our 54 locations (we are working on getting more laptop plug-ins) as well as 1,000 public-access computers. Each branch also provides computer-training programs covering topics that range from using social networking to market your small business to applying for a job online. (In fact, our Workplace Wednesdays job-training workshops teach customers about all aspects of finding and thriving in a job in today's digital world.)

The Free Library's commitment to bridging the digital divide doesn't end with support at our 54 branches. One can also stop into any one of our six technology hot- spot computer centers in underserved areas of the city, where we have the latest computer and broadband equipment and trainers to show you how to use it. Or, hop onboard our new Techmobile, our roving computer lab on wheels, for the latest in internet access and training.

The Free Library of Philadelphia not only offers unique and critical services to our 21-century customers, but it also has astounding value in our modern world. A recent and groundbreaking economic impact study conducted by the Fels Institute of Government found that in one year, the Free Library generated some $30 million in tax revenue for the city, all while helping 25,000 people learn to read or teach someone to read; helping nearly 1,000 Philadelphians find new jobs; and helping nearly 9,000 entrepreneurs start, improve, or grow their small businesses.

How cool. And how 21st century.

Sandra Horrocks

vice president

external affairs

Free Library of Philadelphia

End the corner of hate

Re: "Why the hatemongers at 15th & Market?":

Thank you, Kim Lisacek, for taking the time to write this letter. Maybe if more people write in it will encourage our Civil Affairs or mayor to take steps.

I am fully aware of the First Amendment, and freedom of speech. But, these people are on this corner every Friday, and they publicly speak hatred of white people.

We are all entitled to our opinions, and how we feel, but this is not a peaceful protest — this is a disgrace and an insult to all people, and it is a feeding ground for extremists to take a bad situation and turn it into the worst situation. When I stopped to listen, I couldn't believe my ears, and so proudly these men speak, as if it does not offend the people walking by. It is as if Charles Manson himself is on the corner promoting cultism.

I don't know these people, but my eyes don't lie, and my ears are good, and I can say without hesitation: This is wrong, from where I stand.

These men stand on a box at this very busy intersection in Center City, and they speak on a microphone so that you can hear them, at the steps of our mayor and city officials. This is not taking place down on Delaware Avenue — this is in our face.

Do we actually have a Civil Affairs group to address this? If yes, then where have they been?

Hello, wake up and see what is happening. It is an insult to all, and to be in Center City with all the hardworking people making a living, and all the tourists (outsiders) seeing this, it is unacceptable.

City of Brotherly Love — are you kidding me? You're preaching hatred, people. Come on, Philly, get your act together. We don't promote hatred; start breaking it down at the Clothespin.

Hey, here is an idea: Tell them to get a permit, and use the money to teach all of them not to be hating against any race. I want to see how long it will take.

K. Rhoads

Philadelphia