Philadelphia Library Branches Face Social Media Crackdown

Mayor Cherelle L. Parker’s new policy requires library branches to seek approval for social media posts, causing concerns about communication delays and censorship.

The Philadelphia Parkway Central Library on Logan Square. Individual library branches will have to funnel their communications through Mayor Cherelle L. Parker’s office, starting this week. City Hall’s new social media crackdown appears to have caused a kerfuffle for neighborhood library branches. Nearly three weeks ago, Mayor Cherelle L. Parker’s administration enacted a vetting process for all public information and social media posts. While city departments were previously free to handle their own social media engagement with little oversight, the new policy requires dozens of municipal agencies to send drafts of everything from Instagram posts to news releases to the mayor’s communication office for approval.

Library Branches Voice Concerns

On Monday night, a handful of Free Library of Philadelphia branches took to social media to inform their regular patrons about the potential communication delays and censorship resulting from the new policy. The Cecil B. Moore branch posted an alarming message on Instagram, stating, “Updates from all 54 locations of the Free Library will not be in real time, starting today.” The Lovett Memorial Library echoed similar concerns, mentioning that their posts will be less frequent due to the need for approval from the mayor’s office.

Mayor’s Office Responds

Parker’s spokesperson, Joe Grace, addressed the concerns raised by the library branches. He stated that the branches were informed via email about the new policy and assured librarians that there is no intention to censor their content. Grace emphasized that the policy aims to create a “unified voice” within the administration to avoid confusion and muddled messaging. He cited the successful implementation of the policy during a recent snowstorm, where all agencies funneled their communications through the mayor’s office in real time.

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Mixed Reactions from Government Employees

While the mayor’s office insists that the policy is necessary for effective communication, some government employees have expressed reservations about its excessive nature. The rollout of the policy will also apply to offices of various sizes, including city health clinics and recreational centers, raising concerns about potential information backlogs. Employees question whether all 54 library branches truly need approval for updates about events such as baby story-time or yarning club.

Grace responded to these concerns by stating that in due time, departments will be allowed to post non-sensitive information without seeking approval. He mentioned that the Water Department, for example, has already been given permission to share technical information without delay. Grace reassured that the policy has not hindered any agency from disseminating information in real time.


The new social media crackdown implemented by Mayor Cherelle L. Parker’s administration has caused a stir among Philadelphia library branches. While the policy aims to create a unified voice within the administration, concerns have been raised about potential communication delays and censorship. Library branches took to social media to inform their patrons about the changes, leading to a discussion about the necessity of seeking approval for non-sensitive information. The mayor’s office has assured librarians that there is no intention to censor their content and that the policy is meant to streamline communication. As the policy continues to be implemented, it remains to be seen how it will impact the flow of information from municipal agencies in Philadelphia.