Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Another Library in Danger

Argh. It's only a bit over 30 years old, but the main downtown library in Long Beach, CA is rather disheveled and so City Hall, in its wisdom, wants to shut it down completely to help close its $17 million deficit. One does have to wonder who had the great idea to put heavy concrete planters and benches on the roof rather than more light-weight materials (and please - isn't "brutalism" a hideous name for an architectural style?! Would you want your library to look brutal?). Still, to close the library entirely would be a travesty.

Apparently the idea of saving approximately $1.8 million is so enticing that the fact that this library serves at least 27,000 low-income kids can be overlooked.

Los Angeles Public Library was faced with the prospect of huge slashes to its book budget and the elimination of Sunday hours in its regional branches, but luckily an outpouring of protest and support from the Library Guild (AFSCME Local 2626), library administration and staff, and our wonderful patrons convinced the City Council that libraries are the last things that a city should cut.

It looks like supporters of the Long Beach library are mobilizing already. Let's hope that the Long Beach City Hall can come up with less damaging solutions to its budget woes.

1 comment:

  1. I saw the movie "Hollywood Librarian" last night, and one of its running themes is the near-closing of the Salinas Public Library. The librarian at the Cesar Chavez Branch told about one of her patrons, a mother who brought her child to storytime. This mother wanted to help the campaign to save the library, but she had no money to spare. She offered to go on a hunger strike to support the cause, just as Chavez himself might have done. I cried.

    P.S. The library initiative passed, and the library was saved.