Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Letter to the editor: Philly Inquirer

One of my side hobbies is writing cranky letters to the editor in papers all over the country. If you look to the links on the right you can find a page where I put up all the letters I wrote in 2004, 11 of which actually got published.

Since I've now lost the program I had to create the web page I was using, I've been using non sum dignus to post my most recent letters. If you've been checking in regularly, you've probably notticed I was out of business for a little while a few weeks ago. Here's what happened as I wrote it to the Inquirer about a million years ago:

Marciene S. Mattleman of the Free Library Foundation in a March 6 letter praises the expansion of the library downtown and extols the educational benefits of more room and more computers. I wholeheartedly agree and thank the governor for restoring the funding to extend the hours at satellite branches, including the one I use in Port Richmond. However, as wonderful as proposed upgrades for the downtown library are, my branch continues to suffer from a lack of new books, DVDs and videos.

More important for me and others who rely on the library for Internet access, the nine public computers rarely function. On the day the Free Library unveiled its revamped Web site, the server went down at Port Richmond. Service wasn't restored for seven days. People all over the world could enjoy the many advantages of the money spent on making the Web site better, but none of us could.

I doubt anyone who has the financial resources to afford the Internet in his home would tolerate such an extended interruption of service. If there is any better example of the digital divide Mayor Street talks about, I don't know what it is. Before spending more to spruce up the library downtown, perhaps money would be better spent providing basic services to the rest of the city first.


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