Saturday, February 12, 2011

A holler in Britain, a (long-awaited) peep in L.A.

I'd just locked up the library and jumped in my car when an NPR story about protests in Britain over public library closures grabbed my attention. The main activist in the movement, mom Lauren Smith, who said that she'd never fought for a cause before, summed-up the scope of the tragedy brilliantly:

"Smith said politicians in London don't appreciate the role libraries play — as gathering spots for young children to read ... 'all the way to a 93-year-old lady whose husband had died, she only spoke to one person on a Tuesday, when she went to the library, and that was the person in the library branch, behind the counter.'"
If only library-closure protests looked like this one.

Sounds so familiar. In one protest, desperate patrons went to a threatened neighborhood library and checked out every single book.  A musician is doing a library tour. Read -- or listen -- to the story here.

After being amazed by the groundswell in Egypt and witnessing its effects, I've often thought about the lack of protest over so many lamentable things in America. On a local note, it's been a little sad to see the lack of outrage over the Los Angeles Public Library closures. Are library lovers just not the types to raise a ruckus over something that impacts their lives weekly?

Now there is something that those quieter people can do. Just got the list of endorsements for Measure L, the "fund the library" measure for the city, and was happy to see some of my friends (like David Kipen) and favorite writers (Pico Iyer, Ray Bradbury) speaking out for it. Check out Measure L's endorsements here.

L.A. residents need to take a tip from the British -- time for some news-grabbing protests here, before it's too late.

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