In Thursday's LA Weekly staff writer Patrick Range McDonald takes a look at the city's decision to shut down all its libraries twice a week in the face of a historic budget deficit. The closures make L.A. the only major American city besides Detroit to make such a move.
And in a survey of 20 of the nation's biggest cities McDonald finds that L.A. is the only one that has shuttered its main (Central) library twice a week as well. But the largest impact these closures have made seems to be on inner-city school children who, instead of studying after school on Mondays, are who-knows-where:
"I just keep thinking about those kids," says librarian Elyse Barrere. "The library was a neutral territory where the gangs didn't really come in. It makes me worry about them. It could be a very bad situation."
For a city that has gone on an unnecessary hiring spree in the last five or so years, can't even spend federal stimulus money, and has refused to consider the kind of deep structural changes that could have avoided this mess, this is a shame.