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Ray Bradbury joins fight to save Long Beach library

September 2, 2008 |  4:05 pm

Ray_bradbury_loves_books He showed up at Acres of Books (pictured) in Long Beach when the venerable bookstore announced its closing, and now author Ray Bradbury is rallying to the rescue of the Long Beach Main Library, the latest bastion of reading to be rocked by the tanking economy. The Press-Telegram reports on the library's woes, and its latest champion, who is scheduled to appear there Saturday as part of the Blanche Collins Forum speaker series:

"We told him it was kind of an emergency," said Carol Collins, director of the forum (no relation to Blanche Collins). "He'll be speaking in support, of course, of the library."

The emergency to which Collins referred is a budget proposal that would close the Main Library to the public and beef up services and hours at branch locations while the city searches for a new downtown branch. The city is working toward closing a $16.9-million budget gap. Closing the Main Library, which needs infrastructure repairs, is among the cost-cutting proposals.

Bradbury made his views on the proposal known in an Aug. 6 letter to the editor of the Press-Telegram.   

"This is heartbreak and an outrage," he wrote. "Libraries are also an essential core public service. How can a major city not provide public access to a civic center library?"

He went on to explain how he wrote his best-regarded book, "Fahrenheit 451," on a typewriter in a library at UCLA.

Residents are also pitching in to save the library, which could be shuttered to help get Long Beach out of the budgetary red. Something wicked this way comes, indeed.

--Veronique de Turenne

Photo: Alex Gallardo / Los Angeles Times