Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Peter Thomas Senese Supports Los Angeles' Measure 'L': Save Our Libraries

The Los Angeles Public Library System has faced dramatic operating budget reductions over the past few years, substantially limiting the library’s operations and services it offers the city’s patrons. On March 8th, 2011 the citizens of Los Angles have an opportunity to vote ‘Yes’ on Measure ‘L’ and have the city’s budget appropriate much needed funding for the city’s library system.

On March 8th, 2011 the citizens of Los Angeles will have an opportunity to vote “Yes” on Measure ‘L’ and keep the city’s revered cultural and educational institution open.

By voting ‘Yes’ on Measure ‘L’, the citizens of Los Angeles will have the opportunity to significantly impact the financially handicapped Los Angeles Public Library System, which in recent years has received inadequate funding from the city’s operating budget. The goal is clear: to reverse the already incomprehensible and highly detrimental damage done to one of the nation’s finest cultural and learning centers by halting the existing city policy that has caused dramatic library programming cutbacks and budget reductions – a trend that clearly will continue if Measure ‘L’ does not pass.

Author Peter Thomas Senese, a strong proponent of Measure ‘L’ commented, “It is critical for the immediate and long term future of the city of Los Angeles and for all who live here to vote “Yes” on Measure ‘L’. By doing so, we will keep our library doors open and accessible, adequately staffed, and capable of delivering much needed resources and programming that will serve the unique and large patron population that exists in our wonderful community. I urge everyone to support our libraries and vote ‘Yes’ on measure ‘L’.

Presently, the Los Angeles Public Library, with the Riordan Central Library and 72 branch facilities has been reduced to operating 5 days a week. According to various studies, if Measure ‘L’ does not pass, there is a distinct possibility that branches may only remain open 4 days a week. Already, the library staff – gatekeepers of knowledge and information – has been cut by 28% this past year. Similar to a very real potential reduction in library hours if Measure ‘L’ fails, it appears certain that there will be additional personnel reductions for an already understaffed library staff.

If Measure ‘L’ passes, it is expected that library hours will soon resume from the present shortened operating week, to a six-day, and eventual seven-day schedule in the near future. Alarmingly, Los Angles ranks last in the country of the top eight public library systems with respect to resources for acquisitions. This too would change if Measure ‘L’ passes, as the city would be obligated to increase as a percentage of its budget, resources dedicated to library operations.

Peter Thomas Senese, a self-professed Librophiliac added after a day of calling Angelinos seeking their support for Measure ‘L’, “A book is a free ticket to anywhere in the universe and our libraries are realm transporters that can take us anywhere. It is clear that many individuals in this city do not realize the dire situation our libraries face today, but it is serious. Unquestionably, it is the responsibility of those individuals who can vote ‘Yes’ on Measure ‘L’ to do so. After all, all of us, including our children, have a right to have access to our library and all the wonderful resources and unique programming it could offer if properly funded. By saying ‘Yes’ to Measure ‘L’, what we’re really saying is ‘Yes’ to our future.”

Measure ‘L’ will not require residents or property owners to pay more taxes or fees. While the amount of funds the Library receives from the city is based on a percent of property values, Measure L will only increase the library’s share of existing city funds. Measure ‘L’ funds are subject to audits.

For More Information on Measure ‘L’, please visit www.yesonlibraries.com.