Wednesday, April 23, 2008

L.A. libraries still need your help

In Just One Week, Grassroots SaveLAPL Website Helps Reverse Proposed $1/Book Library Loan Fee in Los Angeles

WHAT: After one week and 875 emails from visitors, proposed $1-per-book LA Pubic Library loan fee is set aside


INTERESTING NOTE: The campaign coincided exactly with National Library Week Grassroots preservation campaign -
Supporting documents and FAQ -
Library Foundation book buying fund -

In the week leading up to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's 2008-09 budget announcement, a grassroots group of book lovers, L.A. historians, librarians and free software activists came quickly together as in a last minute push to stop a misguided plan to implement a $1-per-book loan fee for all inter-branch library requests. Not quite one week and 875 impassioned emails to the Mayor later, the proposal was taken off the table in a stunning victory for those who believe, as Benjamin Franklin did, that the Public Library must remain FREE for all citizens.

Another important result of the SaveLAPL campaign was the LibraryFoundation's creation of a special account where concerned citizens can donate directly into the Library's book buying budget, which has been so deeply slashed by budget cuts that no new books have been purchased since February.

But the Los Angeles Public Library still faces a crisis, and in the days leading up to the May 1-2 city budget hearings, citizens can still visit the web site for updates on proposals to close branch libraries, on Sundays lay off workers and reduce the book buying budget by $2 million (a 22% cut from last year and 33% from two years ago).

The website was launched by Kim Cooper and Richard Schave, the newlywed L.A. writers and social historians behind Esotouric bus adventures and the 1947project time travel blog. This was their third preservation campaign following successful campaigns to Save the 76 Ball and to have writer Charles Bukowski's East Hollywood bungalow named a historic-cultural monument. They are thrilled to have been able to help focus the attention of city officials on the importance of maintaining a FREE public library, and to know that, at least for now, no Angeleno will have to pay to borrow a book.

Launched late in the evening of April 14, over the course of National Library Week the web site resulted in 875 emails to the Mayor, Library Commission and City Librarian, features on KPCC and KFWB, and coverage in the Daily News and many blogs including LAObserved,, the L.A Times online, Franklin Avenue, Pico and the Man and Mickie's Zoo.

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