As far as I understand, some distributions have multilib support.
Some backgroup on multilib is given at
There you can also find a patch for multilib support, e.g.
On my computers there is
openSUSE 11.3: multilib support
openSUSE 11.4: multilib support
Kubuntu 11.10: no multilib support
In case of multilib support, sys.lib returns 'lib64' (openSUSE 11.4):
Python 2.7 (r27:82500, Aug 07 2010, 16:54:59) [GCC] on linux2
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import sys