More than 200,000 Philadelphia adults lack a high school diploma.
More than 500,000 Philadelphia adults have below-basic literacy skills.
Only 21% of Philadelphia adults have a bachelor's degree or higher; the city ranks 92nd out of the 100 largest cities in college attainment.
Nearly 40% of Philadelphia households lack internet access.
These grim statistics illustrate why Bill sued the city to keep 11 library branches open -- and won.
When Mayor Nutter proposed to permanently close 11 neighborhood library branches without Council approval, Bill enlisted two of his colleagues and joined with concerned citizens to challenge the closures in court. As a result of Bill's successful lawsuit, libraries in Eastwick, Fishtown, Haddington, Holmesburg, Kingsessing, Logan, Mantua, Mt. Airy, Ogontz, Point Breeze, and South Philadelphia remain open to the public to this day.
Bill believes that the key to opportunity and success in life is a quality education and access to information. In many Philadelphia neighborhoods, public libraries are the only places where people can access both books and the internet -- which is especially import in an era when more and more job opportunities are only posted online. Many of Philadelphia's public schools lack library facilities, making the Free Library of Philadelphia even more important to the success of our young people.
After successfully suing to stop the permanent closure of these libraries, Bill introduced legislation to dedicate a portion of property tax revenue to support the Free Library of Philadelphia -- protecting our library system from any future budget slashing. He also successfully passed a bill to allow city employees to directly support the Friends of the Free Library through voluntary, automatic payroll deductions.
For more information:
Bill No. 090189: Dedicated library funding
Bill No. 090007: Payroll deductions for Friends of the Free Library