Wednesday, August 13, 2008


From our last post, it may have seemed like the heat on the library budget issue has subsided a bit. We’ve continued to try to sort out the story as it evolves.

Make no mistake- there is still a major threat that we will lose vital library services and a large, fully functioning Main Library in downtown Long Beach!

The City Manager, Pat West, has said publicly

"What we’re proposing is not to shutter Main Library until we have a satellite
facility up and ready to go. Once we do that, then we would take the Main
Library down.”

However, nothing has been put in writing, no revisions have been proposed for the budget (which currently calls for complete closure to save a net of $1.8 million) and no plan for a temporary library has been put in place.

The public must be VIGILANT about attending critical budget meetings and continuing to flood City Council and the Mayor with questions and concerns about the proposed budget cut.

We don’t know about you, but to us, the issue has been made extremely complex and City Hall has been incredibly vague and elusive. More questions are arising than answers. We’ve tried to organize the questions below. The public and press must ask these questions and demand answers, before the City Council votes to irrevocably close Main Library, leaving us with slashed services and a very uncertain future for our Long Beach Public Library system.



  • Why can’t the Main Library stay open until a new, permanent building is ready?
  • Why hasn’t the City made public any documentation regarding the immediate health and safety dangers of the current building?
  • If it’s so dangerous, why are employees being allowed to stay?
  • Why did the City deliberately defer maintenance for so many years?
  • Why won’t the City address the report from Public Works last year that recommended the building could be fixed for $3 million dollars? (Read the report yourself by clicking HERE)
  • What has changed since last summer?
  • Why did the money that was set aside to fix the building “disappear”?



  • What is the definition of a satellite facility?
  • Will it include ALL the core library services in one place and continue to meet the needs of the community?
  • How big will it be?
  • Will it be located close to the current building?
  • How long will it take to open?
  • How will it be funded?
  • How long is “temporary”?
  • What will ensure we aren’t stuck with a temporary facility indefinitely?
  • What will happen to all of the books and staff that don’t fit in the satellite facility?



The money for a new library is supposed to come from the proposed Infrastructure Parcel Tax.

  • How much of the total will be allocated to a new Main Library?
  • Is it the $20 million dollar amount that has been reported by the press?
  • Is this amount enough for a comparable Main Library?
  • Is there any guarantee that the Parcel Tax will fund a new Main Library?
  • What priority will the Main Library have with regards to all the other projects on the infrastructure list?
  • When will the new library be built?

The Mayor has been quoted saying that a new Main Library will be much smaller.

  • How MUCH smaller?
  • Will the new Main Library still be big enough to be a MAIN LIBRARY or will we be left with just a downtown branch library?
  • Where will it be located?

What if the bond doesn’t pass?
What will ensure that we get a new library?

We just don’t understand the urgency of moving forward to close Main Library with no comprehensive plan in place to make sure that the City of Long Beach will have a fully functional Main Library.

Our greatest concern is that this budget recommendation will be approved by the City Council with nothing more than “promises” that the City will take care of our library needs. If that were to happen, our community might be left without a Main Library or with something that doesn’t meet any of our needs or expectations.

PLEASE participate and demand transparency in this budget process.

Don’t let the City close our Main Library and move forward without knowing EXACTLY what we’re getting in its place. Once this current Main Library closes, we may never get a comparable library back!


Email your concerns (again!) to all City Council members and the Mayor. Write letters to all of the newspapers.
(We know that in several cases, the papers are not publishing your letters, but keep writing them to ALL of the papers. And send them to us, we’ll publish them!)

PLEASE, show up to the budget meetings. There is one on August 19th, and we have been told that SEPT 2ND, 3:30PM will be completely dedicated to the library issue and it may carry over into the evening City Council session. We really need as many speakers as possible to attend both parts (afternoon and evening) to share how important Main Library is to you and to raise these questions with City Hall.

AND PLEASE keep collecting signatures! Our current deadline will be to collect them all in time to present them at the Sept 2nd Council Meeting.


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