Letter to City Council: Beware the Trojan Horse of Reduced Library Hours

by on November 20, 2008 · 0 comments

in Civil Rights, Economy, Education, Ocean Beach, Organizing, San Diego

Our good friend and fellow librarian activist Anna Daniels has sent a letter to the San Diego City Council and we post it in its entirety below.  Anna also sent a special note to the residents of Ocean Beach. Here’s the note:

Ocean Beach Library Supporters: I know that it is a palatable solution at the moment to spread the pain throughout the whole library system. Pain is still pain and Ob and every library will suffer. Is it acceptable that OB be closed two other days and Sunday? That’s what’s on the table right now. If we don’t speak to power, if we cave in on the message of no closures, no reduction of hours, no layoffs and no cuts, we will end up with a phyrric victory, which is no victory at all. Your library, our libraries have already been cut- hours, you probably lost a youth services librarian at ob already, although I haven’t checked that fact. Ask Matt tomorrow. So it is not as if we haven’t already had the budget balanced on our backs. Spread the word. We can’t cave on this one.

Dear Council Members :

– thank you for listening closely and respectfully to the many many people who came out yesterday on behalf of their neighborhood library. You face hard deliberations in the days ahead on this issue and I urge you to consider the following as you do so:* Reduced Hours is a Trojan horse: The most politically expedient solution you can choose is the option to reduce hours at all locations in order to avoid closures. I work at a library (25 years, so I am “recession” proof, at least for the moment) and administration has asked staff to develop a reduced hours scenario based on being open 32 or 36 hours a week. This tells me that the mayor has directed our department head to devise plan B, so this is still clearly the mayor’s agenda. I am asking you not to choose the politically expedient option. REDUCED HOURS SUPPORTS THE MAYORS AGENDA OF CUTTING LIBRARY FUNDING YET AGAIN. HOURS HAVE ALREADY BEEN CUT AT ALL LOCATIONS. (Staff and materials have also already been cut

* Our coalition of the Library Friends, citizens & library users, staff and retired staff, Library Foundation and MEA have one clear consistent message: NO CLOSURES. NO REDUCTIONS IN HOURS. NO LIBRARY CUTS. We will be handing out 2,000 flyers this Saturday at those 7 impacted branches with the same message. Your district has already been contacted or will be contacted to send a representative to the impacted branch in your district. (9:30-2:30 Saturday)

* As a city employee, I feel enraged that the profession I have chosen for twenty five years will essentially be reduced to an inadequate pool of part time wage earners- just like the Star Bucks down the street. Do you really want to send the message to your workforce that employees in permits or planning are valuable and do real city work and we don’t? Let’s face it- the citizens love their libraries and our only sin is that we don’t generate revenue, like permits and planning. But please re-think that one. We actually do generate revenue for the city. Library users multi-task. They drop the kids off for story hour at the library, shop for groceries, get their hair cut and stop at a local restaurant. Closures and reduction of hours have impacts that are not immediately obvious.

* I am asking you not to consider reduced hours as an option either. I am asking you to draw upon the experience, understanding of your constituents and desire to serve them well which got you elected in the first place, to find a different solution- The IBA preferred option(defer, study and decide) is our best bet. PLEASE SUPPORT THE IBA PREFERRED RECOMMENDATION.

Thank you.

Anna Daniels

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