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Pomona Public Library: From endangered to uncertain

June 27, 2012 |  2:45 pm

If Pomona's City Council had approved a proposed budget at its Monday meeting, the city's only public library would have been closed. Instead, it has recieved something of a reprieve.

The Pomona City Council passed a budget that will keep the library's doors open beyond August. That's when it was slated to be closed for a year to help meet a budget gap.

More than 40 speakers appeared at the meeting to show their support for the library, the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin reports. The names of 150 people opposed to the library's closure were read into the public record.

The meeting, which included consideration of cuts in fire services, did not end until 1:30 a.m.

The future of the library is not exactly clear. The Daily Bulletin reports that on the one hand, Pomona's City Manager Linda Lowry told council members that representatives of Rancho Cucamonga contacted Pomona and expressed an interest in operating Pomona's library. But on the other hand, "Rancho Cucamonga City Manager John Gillison said Tuesday morning that his city has no interest in running Pomona's library."

The Daily Bulletin's David Allen, who has been writing in support of keeping the Pomona Public Library open, spoke to other Rancho Cucamonga officials Tuesday.

I phoned Robert Karatsu, the city's library director, and Diane Williams, a member of the council's library subcommittee. Neither one seemed to know what Lowry was talking about.

"She's gone way farther down the road than we have," Williams said.

She and Karatsu said Rancho Cucamonga has offered to look at the Pomona library budget to suggest cost savings. Operating Pomona's library costs $1.6 million a year, the same as each of Rancho Cucamonga's two branches, which are open far more hours.

Still, Karatsu saw no way to operate Pomona's library for $400,000, one-fourth of the current cost, and said he couldn't see operating Pomona's library as a branch of Rancho Cucamonga's.

They're not even in the same county as us," Karatsu said.

Allen explains that the budget the Pomona City Council passed includes just $400,000 to keep the library open, while another $600,000 has been set aside to bring about its still-possible closure.

Representatives from Rancho Cucamonga and Pomona will meet to discuss the library's future. For now, at least, the Pomona Public Library is still open, on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.


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Photo: Pomona Library. Credit: Friends of the Pomona Library