Monday, July 28, 2008

The Voice of the People

As the news has had time to settle, the support has begun to pour in.

We received the following letter from a Long Beach young woman which moved many of us to tears!

For those that would like to send us additional comments and support, please see the instructions below Christee's letter. We've also updated the HELP page to include upcoming meetings on the budget that allow public comment. We really need everyone to show up to these meetings to provide feedback on the budget to the Mayor, City Manager and City Council.

"I need your help. I am twenty four years old. I grew up downtown, and the Main Library saved me from becoming a typical inner city kid. We lived on 7th and Linden- I remember a drive by right outside my apartment. It was not an easy area to grow up in. The Main Library allowed me access to an escape- reading. I would check out literally 15-17 books at a time. I spent much of my summers and weekends there, learning about our city's history on microfilm archives. I spent hours reading in the padded bathtub and cushions in the children's section. As I got older I researched magic tricks and ventriloquism, ghost sightings and marine biology. I spent my time learning about the world instead of getting caught up in it.

Sure I had a library at my school, but we were only allowed two books a week- hardly enough to keep me occupied. I read the entire Nancy Drew series in 4th grade. I literally must have read 2/3 of the books in the children's and junior's sections by the time I was 14. By the age of 12 I was already reading several adult research and fiction books along with my more comfortable high school level books. As my mother was on welfare she could afford to buy one or two books from the book order a month for me, but that was about it. Without the Main Library I would not be who I am today, and don't even like to imagine what I would have become. I was a very smart kid, and smart kids without an outlet tend to get into trouble. The library kept me off the streets and in a safe environment. It allowed me to reach beyond my upbringing. I now attend college and plan on applying to UC Santa Cruz's Philosophy department, and have the goal of a PhD in mind.

This library is so imperative to kids like me. I know you are concerned about this. I would like to share my story with the council, with the mayor if necessary, but I'm not sure how to go about it. That is why I need your help. I'm prepared to publicly protest if necessary. This library cannot close. It is discrimination against inner city kids. They need help to get out of that environment, not be stuck in it. I now live all the way by Long Beach City College, and there are many libraries close by. I know the difference in resources between these small neighborhood libraries and the Main Library. The proposal to build another library downtown like these libraries is a shame- it couldn't compare. To save money for the city now to spend it on a new library makes no sense when so much would be lost. This library needs to be saved, and I'll do anything I can to help with that cause. Please let me know what I can do."

Most Sincerely,
Christee Kee
Lifelong Long Beach Resident

To post a comment:
Below each post, on the right, there are three buttons. The first one looks like a green dialogue balloon. If you click on this, it will show you all the comments so far. To the right of that, it says how many comments there are currently, which is underlined. If you click on this underlined count, a separate window will pop up and ask for your comment. You can type your comment in the box provided.

After you type your comment, it will ask you to copy over a security word. Just type it in as you see it, this is to protect against spam and computer generated comments. Last, it asks you for your identity. If you don't have a google account, the easiest choice is to select "anonymous" (just make sure you include your name in your comment if you would like to). If you leave a phone number or email, we will take it out before posting your comment.

The last button, which looks like an envelope allows you to email a copy of a post to a friend. It opens a window and asks for your information, their information, and a short message.

You also can email comments directly to

We look forward to hearing from you!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Let's get serious and collect some real data on use of the library not just anecdotes. How about some concerned people go down to the library and count the number and types of people going in and out all the hours the library is open for one week? And no packing the project with people who show up just to be counted. Let's get the data so we know what is really going on every day.