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.


  1. a related link of interest:

    The Big (Awful) Picture http://www.losinglibraries.org/

    an effort to map and chronicle the full range of cuts, closings, and diminished library services nationally; from Library Journal

  2. This is heartbreaking! My library may close if the millage renewal doesn't pass August 3rd!

  3. Thanks for the link, w byrne. It is really terrible to see libraries cut services just when people are in most need of them. There is just too much fat in govt. budgets that can easily be cut - this should not be happening.

  4. I agree, Staci. "Heartbreaking" is exactly the right word for this situation. Good luck on your situation.

  5. I just read the WSJ article about the government regulating shower heads (how much water can flow per minute). We have money for this nonsense but not money for a true public good like the library?


  6. That's exactly my point, factotum. These big shots spend money they shouldn't spend - and on some of the dumbest, if not most corrupt, stuff I can imagine...then they don't have money to keep library doors open when people are in desperate need of the "free" services offered there. Pitiful, plum pitifull...