Open Letter to Mayor Sanders from Friends of the OB Library

by on November 23, 2009 · 11 comments

in Civil Rights, Economy, Labor, Ocean Beach, San Diego


Editor: On Tuesday November 17, the Friends of the OB Library met at their regularly scheduled monthly meeting, and decided  to draft a letter to Mayor Sanders to remind him of his pledge last spring in front of the OB Library not to close any San Diego libraries.

Since then, the Committee learned that our six-year President Suzi More, and a few other citywide ‘Library Advocates’ have been invited to meet with Mayor Sanders this coming Monday November 23.

The Honorable Mayor Jerry Sanders:

The Friends of the Ocean Beach Library recently met and it was decided to write you about the impending budget situation, particularly as it might apply to our own Ocean Beach Library. We want to be involved in bringing possible ideas forward to you and the City. We wanted to share with you four thoughts that we came up with:

1. Any cuts that might come to the library system, should be shared equally among all libraries and library departments.

2. Closing all libraries one day a week, possibly on a weekend.

3. We do not like having libraries which are located close to each other ‘switch’ days off; referring the public to the closest library which is open would be confusing to patrons.

4. And finally, our strongest desire, is for you to continue your pledge that you made when you stood in front of the Ocean Beach Library in April of this year. And your pledge was that “no public libraries will be closed.” We would rather have our library reduced in hours–just as long as our library remains open.

Thank you for taking our concerns into consideration.

Sincerely yours,

Suzi More, President

Ocean Beach Library

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Suzi More November 23, 2009 at 6:38 pm

I attended a meeting with Mayor Sanders this evening regarding the city-wide budget cuts. It was mostly informational, but he did answer questions. The proposed budget for the libraries was foremost on my mind, and I am happy to say that Mayor Sanders has kept his promise, and is committed to recommend keeping all of our libraries open. This was our main concern at the OB Friends of the Library meeting on Tuesday. Unfortunately, the only way that the 27% cut will be able to be made will be to “pair” libraries and keep each open three days a week, sharing staff. All libraries would close on Sundays except the ones that have special private funding (Pt. Loma is one of them). When our library was threatened with closure, a big concern in OB was that it would never open again. With the pairing, at least, when the economy improves we can look forward to increased days/hours. At this point I can see no alternative. These proposals will be discussed with Deborah Barrow, library director, and will go to City Council in December.
I appreciate all the support that our wonderful community has given to our little library on the corner. ~Suzi~


avatar Frank Gormlie November 23, 2009 at 7:12 pm

Suzi – great – thanks so much for your report and update, and for you and your committee’s support for the OB Library.


avatar Erin November 24, 2009 at 7:55 am

Wow. People still haven’t gotten over the hours being cut in 2005. They are REALLY going to freak out about 3 days a week. It will be interesting how they figure out this one.

Ugh. I’m sorry, as a staff member who has had to take a pay cut & mandatory unpaid furlough hours, it’s hard to be anything but cynical about our chances of regaining opening hours. And I’m a person with a tattoo of a half-full glass on my person!



avatar maria November 26, 2009 at 2:44 pm

Ugh! This is so awful that the Friends of the Library are accepting this level of cut to our libraries! According to the UT editorial from 11/24 the mayor proposes no cut to recreation center hours. We demand the same level of service for our libraries. Please call the Mayor and all city council members to let them know that the 50% reduction in library service hours at 16 branches (open only 3 days a week) is not acceptable! Furthermore, the closure of 8 out of 12 branch libraries now open on Sunday is also not acceptable. Please Friends of the Library become stronger advocates than accepting this cut. We deserve better!


avatar maria November 26, 2009 at 3:48 pm

Ugh! The friends of the Library should be stronger advocates for libraries. The Mayor’s proposed budget calls for no reductions to any recreation centers. The Friends of the Library should demand the same–no cuts to library hours. Call or email (or do both) the mayor and city council and let them know of your dissatisfaction with the proposal to cut library hours by 50%. This is urgent. The Council votes on December 14 about whether these cuts will take place


avatar Erin November 27, 2009 at 10:05 am

Maybe it’s time for all of us to become better advocates for the library by joining your local Friends of the Library. See if you can work from the inside to make the Friends of the Library more like what we think they should be.

I know OB’s Friends of the Library is strong, but there are so many branches that have a weak Friends presence.

I was shocked last year that NONE of my branch library’s Friends showed up at city council meetings and only some showed up to our branch rallies. There are certain legal implications of employees protesting against the City. It’s VERY important for our Friends to be actual “Friends” and support us, the community AND the employees.

Please do what you can do to help the Friends of the Library gain strength and show their support.

Thanks guys!


avatar Michael Alston November 30, 2009 at 9:16 pm

Rather than build a new Central Lib use that $200M+ to permanently endow the ongoing operation and expansion of San Diego’s community branch libs AND recreation centers! Here are 3 reasons:

1) The best way for a city to serve the young (less than 18), the old (over 65), and the disabled, is to ensure availability of funds to keep all community branch libraries open. In general, able-bodied residents aged 18-65 can get where they want, when they want. A community with a library and recreation center that is open for kids and seniors 7 days/wk is a safer, vibrant, and more active community.

2) This is the 21st century. Rather than spending time and energy physically transporting ourselves to information (books, maps, charts, audiotapes, DVDs, etc.) this stuff now comes to us through the Internet, on our cell phones, PDAs, laptops, netbooks, etc. We don’t need to construct “Central” anything anymore! …

Case in Point: Google recently settled a lawsuit with the < 5% of stakeholders who object to its massive ongoing project to digitize all books and put them online. Face it, digitization along with pervasive connectivity is happening and will continue.

Try this …
Pickup any book (hardcover or paperback) on your desk or bookshelf. Open it to any page. Pick any long sentence on the page. Type that complete sentence into the search field on the Google Books homepage: Click the Search Books button next to the search field … Each time I've tried this, I discovered the book I opened has already been digitized; its contents stored on online in Google’s “cloud” of computer servers. Enabling instantaneous online access to everything being digitized is just around the corner.

When we must have hardcopy, we can print it ourselves or have it delivered. These are greener approaches than building, staffing and compelling residents to tramsport themselves to a Central Library.

3) Last, but not least: Our City is “broke,” it cannot pay for current needs. When broke, don’t spend hundreds of millions of dollars on something which is a “nice to have”. In hard times focus on whose money is being spent and who is being served by the expenditure.

It is the after-school and weekend programs at community branch libraries and recreations centers which provide real value to San Diego's millions of residents. These programs boost literacy, promote fitness, help neighbors get to know each other, and decrease the need for increased spending on police, jails & prisons. Keep it simple; use the city’s limited funds to serve the everyday people in every San Diego community.

Michael Alston


avatar Erin December 1, 2009 at 7:29 am

Thanks for your comments, Michael.

My major problem with most of the complaints about the new central library is that, to a lot of people living in the downtown area, the Central Library IS a local branch library.

There has been such growth in the downtown area since the current Central Library was opened in the early fifties. Don’t those people deserve a local library?

Now… if you want to talk about the architectural design of the proposed Central Library… I’m all for going back to the drawing board.



avatar always wondered December 1, 2009 at 11:40 am

Why do all the libraries have to have the same exact hours? Why can’t some be closed on Mondays and open Sundays or have some sort of permanent schedule for each library that may be different than the next closest library?
Always wondered


avatar Ernie December 1, 2009 at 2:33 pm

If basic services cannot be provided to taxpayers, then it is time to consider filing bankruptcy under Chapter 9. The erosion of our basic services year after year while pursuing how to fund a new City Hall, Convention Hall expansion, and Main Library plus wasting time & money on sport stadiums smacks of the never ending funding for special interest benefits.


avatar Danny Morales December 1, 2009 at 3:45 pm

Collective bargaining agreements can be voided under Chapter 9 leaving workers at the mercy of the administrators who usually represent the major financial interests of the area. Councilmember Carl DeMaio (R-Fascist) is also proposing managed competition to sell off city services at free market rates. Do we want to see the real estate, medical services and defense industries sectors of finance capital determine what and how city services will be distributed? I think not! Ironically, BAE systems was awarded a contract with the U.S. Treasury back in August outsourcing some of that departments functions. And you think it’s time to declare bankruptcy?…gimme a break!


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