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

May 7, 2010 |  9:15 am

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