Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Blogging for the Library

 Sign of the times: library protest in front of Central Public Library

If you think librarians are quiet, mousey people (meaning, given to uttering tiny squeaks and wearing buns) you are so wrong. Needless to say, I'm thinking of the librarians of my youth and promoted in films and on TV; even now, we think of librarians as having small voices. But tell that to Erica Silverman, a children's librarian and book author, who gave an impassioned speech in front of the Central Public Library on Monday morning, where people had gathered to protest the Monday library closures. She wasn't buying it, not for a moment, and told the crowd so when she raised her head and shouted to the top of the uppermost office buildings surrounding the library (let me just say, I'm sure they heard her), "Unslam these Doors!" 

"We HEAR you."

If you haven't heard: the Los Angeles City Council voted to eliminate hundreds of library positions, 20 of which were full-time librarians and that many more library clerks, extend furlough days and close library doors on Sundays and Mondays as a result of a 22 million dollar budget shortfall. Expect more cuts in October; at the same time the Mayor has hired a "Job Czar" whose salary we can only imagine. What the heck? That makes no sense. The city's broke, there's no arguing the fact, but nothing could be worse in a recession, say the librarians, their union and their patrons, then limiting library hours now, just when people need the library the most. 

Another sign of the times held by a protester

So, I'm doing what these librarians have asked us, as bloggers, to do: reach out to those who love our city libraries. Please call or email your City Council member and protest these closings. For children everywhere who need the library on Monday, who need it on Tuesday and Wednesday and the rest of the week; for job seekers who need the library's resources now more than ever; for the homeless who need somewhere to sit and something to read; for teenagers who love computer games but don't own computers; for researchers and scholars who uncover the library's treasures; and for just ordinary people like you and me who want to check out books: tell the Mayor and your Councilmember to "Unslam these Doors!"

 Kerry Madden, YA author and biographer of Harper Lee

Tony what-me-worry?

This library worker's sign says it all

To keep up with activities related to the Los Angeles Public Library closures, check out

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