Citing budget problems, Antonio Villaraigosa is reducing hours and closing public libraries in Los Angeles.
One ominous result, already, in rougher neighborhoods of Los Angeles: "Kids don`t have anywhere to go after school" on Mondays, Caswell says.Elyse Barrere, a librarian in Atwater Village, is haunted by what`s unfolding in South Central Los Angeles, where she once worked, at the Vernon branch. There, hundreds of Latino and black students typically sought a quiet homework haven after school. "I just keep thinking about those kids," she says. "The library was a neutral territory where the gangs didn`t really come in. It makes me worry about them. It could be a very bad situation."
City of Airheads: Villaraigosa Dismantles L.A.`s Vaunted Library System By Patrick Range McDonald,LA Weekly, September 16, 2010
For some reason, the line about libraries being places where the gangs didn`t come in reminded of Max Shulman`s 1951 short story "Love Is A Fallacy"
where the Big Man On Campus
tells Dobie Gillis
about the latest retro fashion fad:
"All the Big Men on Campus are wearing them. Where`ve you been?""In the library," I said, naming a place not frequented by Big Men on Campus.
Mass immigration in Los Angeles, plus the Minority Mortgage Meltdown, add up to major budget problems. In John Steinbeck
`s town of Salinas
, in 2004, they almost had to close the public librarie
s for similar immigration-related budget problems
The managed to scrape the money together somehow, and the John Steinbeck Library is still open
, but the problem in 2004 was that the voters (Salinas is now 64 percent Hispanic) were unwilling to vote the taxes need to keep the libraries open. That`s because Latinos, by and large, are not big users of of the public library system.