Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Save LA's Libraries: Yes on L

Alexandria, which didn't make it
Today, of course, is election day in Los Angeles. I want to urge everyone to vote yes on Measure L, which helps fund the badly drained LA library system.

HERE is a wonderful piece by the writer/world traveler Pico Iyer. Our state and city budgets are in desperate shape, we all know," he writes, " but to save money by reducing library services and resources is like trying to save a bleeding man by cutting out his heart. Or — if we could reach it — his soul."

The way to think about it is "Do we want to live in a world without libraries?" My sense is that the people making these decisions are not the ones who need library services. 

Measure L gives the people who do the opportunity to tell the city that libraries matter to them. I've spoken to Susan Patron, a writer and LA's most famous librarian, and both of us agree that there is a very strong chance that, once the funds and staff are taken away, cities and schools will not give back, even in good times. When the budgets shrink, the libraries can't serve the people. 

Then, the people get angry at the libraries and its staff for not providing proper service. If we get to that stage, if everything has atrophied at the rapid pace that it's moving now, there is a very real chance that we won't have libraries because our idea of a vital library will be a dim memory. Definitely vote for L.

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