In Our Mailbox - Letters to the Editor Graphic

Restore Library Budget

Dear Editor,

When the Long Beach Recovery Act takes effect, 22,000+ community members with suspended library accounts will be able to check out materials again thanks to Mayor (Robert) Garcia and the City Council. 

Library fines disproportionately impact low-income areas and communities of color, and 29% of those with suspended accounts in Long Beach are children and teens. This is why libraries nationally are eliminating fines. The Long Beach Public Library Foundation is proud to see Long Beach follow suit with funds to eliminate these fines for one year. But to truly promote equity, the City Council should permanently eliminate fines without reducing the library’s budget. 

According to the recent audit of the library’s services, “Libraries are an important resource for communities in recovering from a public health crisis and corresponding economic uncertainty because they provide a safe place for the public to access free resources and provide job assistance and economic inclusion services.” 

These resources require adequate funding. Therefore our city leaders MUST restore library structural funding to pre-2008 recession levels before budget cuts resulted in a 31% drop in library staff and the 12 libraries went from being open seven days per week to five days per week. This funding would also allow the Library to provide more non-English language resources, as recommended by the audit.

In the library’s 125th anniversary year, we hope the city will increase the library’s structural budget in recognition of the critical role it plays in getting residents’ lives and livelihoods back on track. If you agree, tell your City Council member. You can also support Library Foundation-funded programs and enhancements with a donation of any size at lbplfoundation.org.

M.  Lissette Flores, president

LB Library Foundation board

 

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