Mar 03 2010
Proposed budget cuts announced by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa threaten the viability of the city’s library system. Seventy-two branches have already closed operating hours on Friday mornings as a cost-saving measure and a new round of layoffs could affect services further. Los Angeles faces a budget gap of 700 million dollars over the next sixteen months. In response, the mayor and the city council are calling for 4,000 city employee layoffs in April. Though such a move would fail to address even half of the overall shortfall faced, it would reduce library staff forces by as much as twenty percent or more. The Los Angeles Public Library argues that cuts and layoffs to its branch and indeed to the system citywide would be extremely detrimental. At a time when the economy is not improving for most people, the institution of city libraries has been beneficial to ever increasing patrons in multiple areas from providing free internet access to assistance programs for job seekers. In order to raise public awareness and support against the impending cuts, the Librarians Guild has organized a “Save the Library” campaign. They warn that the mayor’s plan would mean closed branches, fewer hours, and fewer services. To avoid such repercussions, “Save the Library” has organized a petition drive and urge people to send letters to Mayor Villaraigosa expressing concern.
GUEST: Roy Stone, Senior Librarian at the Fairfax Library and president of the Librarians Guild
For more information, visit www.savethelibrary.org.
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