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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

LA Cuts Library Hours by Two Full Days

The fast-crumbling California economy has caused the city of Los Angeles to make a sad decision concerning its public library system. As of now, patrons of all 73 of the city's libraries will have to get their business done from Tuesday through Saturday. Can't make it on those days because you have to work, go to school or take care of other obligations? Not our problem, says the city of LA.

From the South Los Angeles Report:
"Children can’t wait," she said. "A six-year-old whose parents can no longer take him to the public library because of the shortened hours may lose his reading skills over the summer. He’ll have to start all over again in the fall. And by the time he’s nine, he may have fallen so far behind that he will never catch up. That’s a tragedy, and one that the public library can help avert."

More than 15 libraries no longer have children’s librarians, and more have no teen specialists, she said.
[...]
The closures could also impact adults, including those who are disadvantaged or out of work. "We, the public, whether we have lots of money or we have no money, we have no resources to use," said librarian Verdel Flores. "The library is the great equalizer – it’s the great democracy-maker. Anybody can go in there and every service is free. You can learn English there, you can learn to type there, you can send out a resume, you can create a resume. The library is for everyone." Besides the closures, budget cuts also resulted in the layoffs of more than 100 library workers, librarian Mark Siegel said, resulting in newly-built libraries lying vacant.
This is just sad. Considering all the waste and graft involved in government spending (and why should anyone believe California would be different), it is a terrible shame to see library users abused this way. Surely, the mayor can find the money to keep library doors open by cutting a bit of the useless fat in his budget. Come on, guys. You can do better than this.
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