Friday, November 19, 2010

A Word on Protecting our Libraries

Tough economic times, which left the city with a $405 million deficit this year, forced across the board cuts including to our libraries.

When the budget was passed, I said that would work to make sure libraries are a top priority when the budget picture was brighter. The outlook, however, remains dim so we on the Council, led by Councilmembers Parks and LaBonge, looked for a solution that would address our library crisis while taking into account our economic and budget situation.

On Wednesday, the Council passed a motion that would guarantee funding for libraries to remain open for six days a-week in good times or bad, without any additional cost to taxpayers. The measure requires the city to allocate a certain percentage of the budget every year to our libraries. This requires a change to the City Charter, which only can be changed by the voters. Los Angeles will have a chance to vote on this amendment on March 8, 2011, and I will help ensure they do.

Libraries are a proven and cost-effective way to improve our economy and keep our youth on the right track, and this measure supports libraries with no increased cost to the taxpayers. When we prioritize libraries we are at the same time prioritizing safe places for kids to learn after school and increased access to printed and online information that can make the difference in our workforce's competitiveness.

Support for our libraries is a wise choice, both in terms of economics and education. To support our libraries before the March election, please visit