By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — If Governor Tom Corbett’s budget plan remains unchanged, blind people in the Philadelphia will have more difficulty borrowing a book from the library.
Corbett wants the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to move Philadelphia’s much-used audio (“talking books”) collection to Pittsburgh.
At a rally today outside the main branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia, on Logan Circle, Jim Antonacci — president of the National Federation of the Blind of Pennsylvania (at lectern in photo) — stood with his cane and guide dog, saying he can’t understand the governor’s rationale, because such a move would produce no savings.
“Neither library for the blind wants to go ahead with this plan. Tell them, ‘Don’t take our books away!’ ” he urged the crowd.
Bob Heim, chairman of the board of trustees of the Free Library of Philadelphia (second from left in photo), says there are 17,000 clients served in Philadelphia’s five-county area, while Pittsburgh serves just 8,000.
He says the proposal came from a consultant who had minimal input from the libraries and none from the blind community.
“Nobody did any studies of what it would mean to have audio books shipped from Pittsburgh to people in the eastern part of the state,” he told the rally.
Advocates seek at least a year’s delay to more thoroughly look at the issue and come up with a more comprehensive strategic plan.
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