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L.A. libraries reopen for Monday service

July 18, 2011 |  8:47 am

Public libraries in Los Angeles will be open on Mondays starting today, a year after budget cutbacks forced the city to reduce their hours by two days a week.

The Monday restoration comes thanks to voters' approval last March of Measure L, which did not raise fees or taxes but increased the amount of property tax assessments dedicated to library operations.

Over four years, the amount of money transferred annually to the system is expected to rise from just under $80 million to $130 million.

Ravaged by budget cuts and layoffs, the system dropped to a five-day-a-week schedule last July 19, with doors closed on Sundays and Mondays at all of the city's library branches.

The cutbacks came after the city in 2007 finished a 15-year building program that expanded the number of libraries from 63 to 73 and more than doubled the total library space citywide.

The number of visits to Los Angeles libraries hit a peak of 17 million in the 2008-09 fiscal year, in part because the recession has driven more patrons to public resources for job searches and educational resources.

In 2009-10, visits dipped to 16 million, probably because of the Sunday and Monday closures, officials said.


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Photo: The Los Angeles Public Library on the corner of 39th Street and Western Avenue. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times.