Testimonials

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I utilize the libraries all over los angeles every week and without the library systems I would have not survived all my terrible times when I was out of work. I among many others need the libraries open and running for the sake of education and stress relief from a hard day. 

ISAIAH L FRANCIS

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The library is a place of books, but not only books can be found in a library.  You can find peace and quiet, a place to go after school, but the most important thing that you can find in a library are friends.  These friends that I am talking about are the library staff.  If you need help finding a book, they are there.  If you are feeling down and need someone friendly to talk to, they are there.  And the more you get to know them, the more you realize that they are REALLY GREAT PEOPLE.  These are people that work hard to make a library the WONDERFUL place that it is.  Now, if 160 of these great people lose their jobs, the library will not be the same.  As these people lose their jobs,  smiling faces that you come to the library to see won't be there anymore.  Also, on top of that another full day will be taken away from the days that the library is open.  Is it really worth it to take away all of this?!  The smiling faces, a welcoming place to go, and another day off the library's remaining open hours?!  I think not but it is up to you in the end.  But before you say yes or no about laying off 160 people, please think about the faces and the sense of hopelessness a person feels when they are "let go."  About how their family and/or kids must feel when they learn about what happened.  So please, reconsider laying off 160 great people, so all of this suffering doesn't have to happen. Thank you.

Cameron L., 13, Hesby Oaks School
Local Library: Encino-Tarzana


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The library is a great place for people of all ages, no matter what their interests are.  To me, the library is the place where I study and read for fun.  I get all of the books I need for school here; it's much more convenient than buying them and the teen section has editions of books with built-in study guides.  This is also where I get all of the books I read for fun.  The library has a great selection of books and I love coming here to look for new books to read.  I am a volunteer here. I do it not just to get community service hours, but also because I like this library and I want to help them out.  There is always work to be done here so they need all the help they can get.  This library also has lots of workshops for teens in the Community Room.  Some of them help with school and some of them are just for fun.  These events help teens coming to the library and they make it a fun place to be.  Anyone who wants to make kids these days read more should know that the best way to do that is to keep the library available to everyone and teen-friendly.

Tilly S., 16, Taft High School
Local Library: Encino-Tarzana

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When I was a kid, when I misbehaved my parents would threaten me: "We won't bring you to the library this week!"  And if I was especially bad, or if we had just recently gone to the library, they would threaten to take away my library books for a day.

Of course, they never actually followed through on this threat, but it goes to show that the library was an important part of my childhood.  Being able to go to the library kept me out of trouble when my parents weren't around, and I sincerely believe that the love of reading instilled in me by a childhood full of friendly librarians and summer reading clubs made me a smarter person (even college professors were shocked at how voraciously I read, even the non-required material).

My parents worked at least 12 hours a day and most weekends too, so the fact that the library was open late and on weekends was hugely important. Literacy is one of the markers of a decent society - and is tied to lower crime and poverty rates.  I can't imagine my childhood without the public library. I sincerely hope children today don't have to face a reality without it.

Grace R.
Local Library: Silverlake; Central

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I was raised in Boyle Heights and my education was nurtured and blossomed by my mother regularly taking me to the Malabar Branch.  My family did not have enough money to buy me all the books that I needed and wanted.  My elementary school library did not allow me to take books home.  If it weren't for the Los Angeles Public Library, I don't believe my education in terms of early literacy, reading comprehension and intellectual curiousity would've matured very much at all. This was during the 80s and I know  I am not alone - there are thosands of families in Los Angeles that rely on the library as a vital part of their children's education at the present moment.  A library is a vital piece of the educational network of our city, it's not just the schools, it's also the parents and libraries all working together to make sure our children and teens have a chance at educational attainment and success. 

Eileen Ybarra
Local Library: Malabar

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A library is a cathedral of ideas, open to all. It is holy ground in the truest sense. It epitomizes the highest ideals of a city, town, or village, not by the size of its collections but in the striving of all its citizens. It is where the youngest learn intellectual curiosity while the oldest can find solace in the shared thoughts of centuries.

The Los Angeles Public Library System enabled me to become a better student, to graduate from Dorsey High School in 1963 and UCLA in 1967, and to earn a masters degree in journalism a year later.

To inflict severe cuts on the libraries would disenfranchise and disable countless youth in Los Angeles.

Jeff Cohen
Local Library: Central Library

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During financial tough times, it always seems to be the impulse of those in power to cut services to those who need them most - the poor, the young and old, the disabled.  Los Angeles needs to prove that we have our priorities straight.  We need to fully fund the services that that nourish, educate, and enrich every person in this city, for free, regardless of where they live, whether they can vote, or what their income is.  If we invest with wisdom, compassion, and courage in our young people, we will all reap the benefits when those children come of age.  Our libraries must not be allowed to languish; the citizens of Los Angeles need them more than ever.

Eva Mitnick
Local Library: Children's Services, Central Library


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I am a librarian who has worked for Los Angeles Public Library for eleven years.  I have worked primarily in branches on the Westside but have been working at a South Los Angeles branch for a year and a half.  I have lived in Mar Vista for over 25 years.

The branch where I currently work is much more than a library; it serves as a community center.  There are no YMCAs, no safe parks, no Boys and Girls Clubs nearby.  Our library is one of the few locations in the neighborhood where families, youth and children can gather in a safe place.  
 
Many of our patrons do not have their own computers and come to our library to use ours so they can look for and apply for jobs and use our word processing to do resumes and school papers.
 
  We guide mothers to board books to read to their toddlers, find books on required reading lists for schoolchildren and locate materials to help high school and college students write their reports.  We show all ages how to access the databases available through our website so they can find information on any topic.
 
Classes from neighborhood schools and preschools visit the library, we read books to them and tell them about the library:  that anyone in Los Angeles can get a library card and borrow our books, magazines, audio books, compact discs and DVDs for free.
 
We provide free programs for all age groups, ranging from holiday programs for children, book clubs for adults and Boys to Men  and Girls Etiquette Workshops for teens.
 
I don't understand why the Mayor has singled out the Library Dept. for such drastic cuts. Our branch was open 52 hours per week six months ago but had to cut back to 48 hours due to mandatory furlough hours. We will be down to 2.5 FTE librarians in a couple of weeks with no prospect of filling our vacancies.  And one of our librarians may be a potential layoff candidate -- she's been with the City for less than three years.   Where will the children go when our doors are closed?

Andrea Burkenroad
Local Library: Hyde Park Miriam Matthews Branch

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I grew up to become a successful author because I was exposed to books and reading from an early age and part of that was weekly visits to the library where I told my mother I wanted, "Piles and piles of books, Mom!" (Pronounced with the lisp of a child's overbite). I read when I was lonely, happy, sad, in need of comfort and inspiration. Books and writing have literally saved my life when I was broken-hearted from loss. I can't imagine what I 'd do without them. The L.A.  library is more than a marvellous place for people to get books and meet and study and find community. It is a symbol of much is what is beautiful and important about our city and our world.  So much is going electronic; we hardly even leave our homes.  We are isolated enough. To be deprived of the comfort of a library full of books to take us anywhere and connect us to anyone is unthinkable. Please save our library!

Francesca Lia Block
Los Angeles

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Libraries are havens. 

I am a Los Angeles author and books are my life.  I have been very involved with the fantastic branches of the LAPL over the past few years.  I have organized city wide multi branch readings with fellow young adult authors as part of Teen Read Week in conjunction with the fabulous teen librarians at Central and other local branches.  I have done workshops and readings for teen councils with the help of the fantastic YA librarians. I'm doing one this Saturday at the Sherman Oaks branch. (Come on down!)  

You can even see my words quoted on the wall of the new Silver Lake Library. 

I have served on the LAPL FOCAL award committee as a judge and while I was a proud volunteer at Mayberry Elementary School in Echo Park for 9 years where I did read aloud and literacy,  I got all of the picture books that I read to the kids at the Los Feliz and Edendale Libraries.  I was helped by the very knowledgeable librarians.   Children and YA librarians have the knowhow and savvy to put the right book in the right kids hands.  I would hate to see any of them lose their jobs.  I would hate to see any library hours or services cut.    

During this time of economic doubt Libraries are more essential then ever.  Librarians are more essential than ever. Access to information, books, entertainment is a salvation.  

Stand up  citizens of Los Angeles.  Stand up for one of the great things about Los Angeles, its libraries.  Stand up for the people of your constituency.  Stand up for reading.  Libraries are what make cities great.  Great libraries are essential for our future. 

Cecil Castellucci
Local Library: Los Feliz


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Every day we help low income families, many that don't speak English.  We help children with information for homework.  We assist parents trying to help their children to read.  We assist people of all ages trying to find a job due to layoffs.  Where will all of these people go and what will happen to this society if this assistance is unavailable or curtailed to the point of unavailability?

Carole M. Kealoha
Local Library: Mar Vista


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I was born in LA and grew up loving trips to the LA Central Library.  I can't imagine any cut in the great services LA Central offers and LA branch libraries.  Libraries are a vital organ of a thriving democracy wherein all may have access to knowledge, learning and open participation.  We truly value our libraries and our librarians, administrators and staff.  No cuts!

C. Farrell
Local Library: Central Library


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With all due appreciation and respect for the wonderful staff of our police and fire departments who in my experience have never been less than amazing and selfless... we cannot spend 70% of our budget preparing for every possible iteration of "what might happen" and further cut the library budget and by doing so set in motion what we can be sure "will happen". When libraries aptly described as "everyone's university" close, we KNOW that on a daily basis our most vulnerable citizens, homeless, jobless, elderly, "at-risk youth" will not have access to computers and materials for homework, job and benefits research, entertainment, recreation and enlightenment. When any of us is inspired and hopeful by rippling effect we are all in
spired and lifted.

It is not a matter of "us or them", wiser decisions on the part of our legislators can mean "us AND them"! Please contact Mayor Villaraigosa and the city council today and say NO to hours reductions at your library. WE ARE  PROUD TO SERVE L.A. 

Ogechi Anum
Local Library: #03 Pio-Pico/#09 San Pedro


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My LA Public Library story takes me back to the 80's having entered the California National History Day competition as a team effort representing Westminster High School. The theme was families and communities in history and our project required a great deal of research into the newspapers of William R. Hearst. The LA public Library was the only place we were able to find the primary research materials to complete our project. We won county and later the state competition in Sacramento. Our success with the project took us to the national competition in Washington DC. Doing research was at the LA public Library was a great opportunity. Not only was the building historic but being among some of the best historical resources for the city of Los Angeles was truly awe inspiring for our student group and a critical success factor for our project.

Mark A. Costa
Huntington Beach California 92646

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ALOUD
Niama Leslie Williams, Ph.D.
Copyright March 2010

for louise stein, who made it possible

   I had not seen him before; forgot, as he walked onto the stage, that he was to be the speaker.  Had heard him introduced, but was swept away by the swagger and loudness of the man who walked out, six foot something large, loud, boistering voice, command of all the square footage around his tall, high yellow body.
   He emerged in mid-conversation and I hurried to catch up.  He was mid-play, and I was hurrying, hurrying to capture place, time, person, situation.  I have no memory of the characters or situation this day, but I remember being swept along at a pace so fast it was nothing less than mesmerizing, and I remember thinking, this man should act; this man should act!
   He talked for what seemed like hours, this character, in full command of our attention, this Los Angeles Public Library ALOUD series audience, and we forgot who we had come to see because this man, this high yellow man had taken hold of our desire to use our senses; we were so busy enjoying him, striving to understand him and to whom and why he was talking, that we didn’t care that we had come to see August Wilson.
   At some point he became the author, the playwright, and at that very moment we shook ourselves in shock, went, oh yeah, that’s right, and settled in to be educated.  We had already been entertained.

   If he ever appeared there, I missed it.  I long to meet him, small quiet man I imagine; understated, nothing boisterous or loud about him.  I imagine his persona would be rather angry at having to come out in public and hawk books; the one Los Angeles Times Book Review article I read about him noted his rather misanthropic nature.  He would prefer to be on the farm he had at the time than deal with humans.
   And yet his story about the Black man with the Confederate Flag, the Confederate Flag on a redneck’s truck, lives in my consciousness for its daring, its completeness, its odd and engaging perspective.  It was a brave story for a Black man to write, courageous even, that he would give a Black male character a truck with a Confederate Flag.
   He will be at Bread Loaf this year.  That was enough to make me apply for the third time.  I’ve been accepted twice, but could never afford the high-ass tuition.  This year I’m going if Percival Everett accepts me.

   Of this one, I remember only his quiet intensity, soft voice, and his surprise and pleasure that I held early editions of his paperbacks no longer in print.  He was my first Latin American author, the first to meet in person, and that he was Chilean, from the era of the coup made it all the better.
   I was not yet over, quite, my infatuation with Riveros-Schafer and thus my love of the Lost Latin American Survivor of Torture.  He was no prof to quit; he was no stiff-legged walker who despised those he taught.  He had no deep reservoir of pain for which I felt obliged to pay with my loyalty and tears.
   No, Ariel Dorfman smiled and signed my copy of Máscara, one of my favorite novels, and for a moment his kindness, warmth and interest stilled the chill one always feels as an undiscovered writer with her own tragic tales to tell.

   Of the women, I remember only Sharon Olds, about whom I wrote a rather non-flattering poem.  She seemed, that night, so stiff and unyielding, nothing like the vibrant poet I had met at Squaw Valley in summer 2000.  As I watched, I kept wanting to pry her limbs apart and apply oil, liberally, but what do I know about being WASP and telling secrets and being a poet.

   I saw so many there, took so many there, yes I took students and they tried not to but had a good time, and if the doors close, if the series ceases, no one may hear the quiet scream of we who write in obscurity as our one free doorway to those we love, admire, emulate shuts like a cell door behind a lifer who had no other option but his crime.  Don’t do it, California; don’t do it.

Niama Leslie Williams, Ph.D.

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When I was in elementary school, I spent every Thursday evening at our public library -- from 5-7pm each week. I spent hours in the stacks, discovering children's books, then, as I got older, novels, non-fiction, and research texts. I read as many books as I could in those two hours, and I'd bring a stack home each week. I read while I walked home from school. I read while I ate lunch. I read during recess. I read many more books than my parents could afford to buy. During those evenings in the library, with a stack of books next to me and the sun setting outside the window, I become a reader. Ultimately, I became a writing teacher as well. 

Today, I work with low-income students who have little access to books and technology outside public libraries. My students depend on libraries for access to books, educational materials, information, tutoring, and technology. Without libraries, many of my students wouldn't be able to have email addresses. They wouldn't be able to fill out online applications for jobs, apply to schools, or do the increasing number of things that are now available exclusively online. My students wouldn't be able to afford the $10 or $15 for a paperback from a bookstore. In short, they may not have access to all that the public library provides. They need libraries.

Our libraries bear a huge burden for our communities -- and whether we like it or not, libraries are the only tie that some of our neighbors have to the world of information and technology -- in a world that is increasingly dependent on these things. Without public libraries, low-income families may not have the resources to become educated, to read regularly, or use computers. Libraries are essential, not a luxury. 

Kathryn

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Before I moved away from Los Angeles, I went to the Central Library and/or Pico Union branch at least once a week. Those libraries saved me at least $2000 a year in book buying expenditures at a time in my life when I was an Americorps volunteer, and then later on, an entry-level social worker. Over the four and a half years that I lived in L.A., there were so many changes in the system that made my life even better as a library patron: email notifications/reminders, website improvements, faster interlibrary deliveries, and self-service check-outs. To this day I consider the L.A. library system my gold standard--a beautiful mix of academic and popular texts, with a warm and welcoming environment that made going to branches a real pleasure. I can now say that I've been a library patron at NYU, Columbia University, New York City and Guam public systems--and none can compare with the ease of use that is the beacon of L.A.'s. Truly, the L.A. public library system is a treasure; I only understand now how significant a good public library system will be in my future decisions regarding where I live. That's due in no small part to the many hours of joy that the L.A. public system brought to me.


Marie Auyong

Local Library: Pico Union; Central Library


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