18 September 2010

Opinion: Sacrificing the LA Public Library

Beginning in July, the LA Public libraries were closed two days a week due to budget concerns. That, despite a growing patron base. Yes, the number of  library users has been growing as job seekers and students flock to use the Internet and free books and resources.

This article from LA Weekly suggests several actions that could have been implemented if the city administration had wanted to protect the library system.  (Note: I have not vetted the statistics included in the LA Weekly, which is self-described as "the Nation's largest alternative newsweekly and website.") Here's one point that really got my knickers in a twist:
In July, City Controller Greuel revealed that the city has not created a centralized billing process — after years and years of talking about it — and managed to collect only 53 percent of its bills in fiscal year 2008-09, losing $260.4 million that year...

...The 73 libraries needed only a relative pittance this year — just $8 million — to remain open on Mondays, for example...

The article notes that other large cities have recognized the importance of keeping its library system intact. Boston, New York and Chicago have found ways to keep their libraries open. A survey of 20 top library systems find that Dallas, San Diego, Houston and Nashville are closing one day a week. Only LA is closing two days a week.

NOTE:  This is not an official stance of the Southern California Genealogical Society.  It's my own.  I love the main LA Public Library.  I feel at peace within its walls. Its genealogy section holds secrets that I have not yet unlocked. I feel it's a travesty to see library hours and services curtailed.  If you share my concerns, it's not too late to tell Mayor Villaraigosa and the Council members how you feel. - Paula Hinkel

Mayor Villaraigosa
Council members

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