Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

L.A. book lovers to protest city library budget cuts

Librarians and book lovers dismayed by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s proposal to cut library jobs and services have planned a Friday night protest in Hollywood.

Library supporters say they will rally from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the corner of Highland Avenue and Sunset Boulevard. They are urging the City Council’s budget and finance committee to reject plans in Villaraigosa’s proposed budget that would eliminate 100 jobs and reduce branch library hours from six days a week to five.

The mayor’s plan, aimed at closing the city’s $485-million deficit, would shrink library operating costs to about $58 million, down from $68.4 million this year and $75.8 million the previous year.

The city’s budget crisis has already taken a toll on the library system. Friday morning hours were cut late last year at the city's eight regional libraries and the 64 branch libraries to absorb the mandated furloughs of city employees.

Because of a citywide hiring freeze, about 8% of the positions in the 1,132-employee department are vacant, and last month the library system lost about 100 workers who signed up for an early retirement program.

On May 17, the budget and finance committee will present its recommendations to modify or accept the proposed budget. The council and the mayor could approve a final budget by early June.

-- Kate Linthicum

Comments () | Archives (13)

This is not an empty protest with no alternatives offered. Please go to savethelibrary.org for more information on what protesters actually propose the city do instead. Especially take a look at the detailed post called "We're Not Being Precocious, We've Just Had It!" Please share with any concerned Angeleno invested in this city.

In addition to the Friday hour cuts, three weeks ago Sunday hours were eliminated, as well as Monday and Wednesday Nights citywide.

Article also doesn't point out that the mayor and the CAO want to start charging the Library's Charter fund for city expenses such as utilities and pension costs, a raid which will take money from the intention of the Charter funds, which is to provide LIBRARY services to the public.

Also, the library is slated to absorb 200 of the proposed 750 layoffs, even though the library is a tiny part of the city budget.

Cutting library services during recession and high unemployment is like cutting health care during a plague.

Come on out and join the protest! We'll have signs and take the Metro Red line (for greater ease). We are a friendly bunch that love LA's libraries and especially the services it offers to EVERYONE!

How about these protesters volunteering some of their protesting time to work the Library hours that are being cut?

Right now I can only find %20-30 of the books I want to read when I search the entire LAPL system. The main branch of the LAPL has a giant attrium that takes up half the building. Wouldnt that space be nice if it was filled with books?

I was attacked by gangsters at the Los Feliz branch and the library manager seemed completely unphased - she refused to take any action to alert other patrons of the threat, even when I told her the Police had informed me that a robbery crew was working the area.

Who cares. Who goes to library's now-a-days? If anything should be cut, this truly is it. DIGITAL AGE ANYONE?

@ Gaucho420

People who can't afford books, computers and their own subscriptions to on-line databases, that's who. There are tons of public programs available for things like how to write a resume, how to start a small business, etc. People don't realize that the publci library is an educational institute it's not just a warehouse of books. Even though the library has plent of books, that's not all they have but they also provide computer access and dowloadable books, videos that run on iPods, iPads and Sony Readers Library circulation is actually UP 10 percent over where it was last year.

You should go to the library. The library had over 17 million visits the last year. Pity you aren't in the know.

Hey Gaucho420, library use is at an ALL-TIME HIGH. Who goes to libraries?:

People who love books, and movies, and free storytime for children. Those who need a safe after-school space to do homework and socialize. People looking for jobs and free entertainment in our economic downturn. Those of us who appreciate free computer and Internet access, community programs and classes, and assistance in doing research. People who want to volunteer for seniors and at-risk youth, and people trying to improve their lot in life through literacy programs in libraries (not "library's").

Digitization is one part of information literacy - it doesn't provide a space to read, think, learn, grow, and gain power over your future.

Gaucho420: Who cares. Who goes to library's now-a-days? If anything should be cut, this truly is it. DIGITAL AGE ANYONE?

gaucho, can you elaborate on how you would do that? said I would like to read " 13 Bankers" by Simon Johnson & James Kwak and sure you know for any reason, I may not want to purchase/ downloading this book from my local Barnes & Noble or Amazon or how about academic journals, etc. If I don't go to Library, then how?
Also, how you explain person's preference to paper over e-book or pc monitor
I'm not sure if you're just trying to be cool or what.

Gaucho420, why do we need anything? I mean, really, who cares?

@gaucho420: Not so fast, there. Over 17 million people visited the Los Angeles Public Library last year. And in addition to the very worthwhile work that LAPL does to promote early and family literacy, they're also probably the largest provider of free computer and wifi access in southern California.

If protesting makes you feel better about the situation, then absolutely go ahead and do it but as Gaucho420 said, it is the digital age. Just as society no longer telegraphs anyone (remember Western Union?) or that landlines are now in decline or sending someone snail mail (when you actually sent a letter to respond to a column like this), things change. You either change with it or perish.

Look... I'm sure libraries are important, but we are in a financial crisis. I don't believe that a 1 day cut is going to make or break anyones educational future. People will just have to adjust. Cuts have to be made somewhere and a 1 day cut to library access per week (which, I tend to agree.... not THAT many people go to libraries anymore... they have computers at schools now people) seems like, while not a solution in a perfect world, a good cost cutting solution in our reality today.

I'd rather not be able to go to the library on one day a week (again, cause sooooo many people use the library these days...) than for them to take more cuts out of police and fire services.

People will make do... they will adjust their schedules. NO one in here is going to successfully tell us that libraries are really crowded... I would have to see hard evidence of that. I also question that 17 million visitor number... does that count people checking out books, or does it double count people checking out and returning in the books in a drop box! Either way, again, no one's educational future is going to be destroyed because of a 1 day a week cut in librarys being open.


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: