Going to the Library? Bring Them Dolla Bills

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Starting this July, checking out books at the Los Angeles Public Library will no longer be free.

We are NOT in a recession. We are simply experiencing an economic “slowdown.” Gas is supposed to be 4 dollars a gallon. A one bedroom house is supposed to cost $500,000. Government is supposed to be this incompetent.

The latest city service to be affected by a crap-ass economy and Spring Street buffoonery is the library. You remember it, don’t you? You used to go there before Netscape ruined it all. You did book reports with the aid of the card catalog, and looked things up on microfiche. Hell, when is the last time you even payed the periodicals a visit, 1989?

Preservationists Kim Cooper and Richard Schave, who spearheaded efforts to Save the 76 Ball and preserve Charles Bukowski’s East Hollywood bungalow, have made it their new mission to Save the Los Angeles Public Library.

In February, LAPL stopped buying new books and started canceling periodicals and database subscriptions. And on July 1st, something even more damaging is planned, a $1 fee for all inter-branch loan requests.

Charging people to use the public library. We wonder why Americans are so far behind when it comes to education. Yes, kids.. we’re going to stop you from joining a gang. But, that report on Lewis & Clark is gonna cost you.

savelapl.org

Photo from Seth Gaines’ photostream

14 Replies to “Going to the Library? Bring Them Dolla Bills”

  1. Jason,

    Just so we don’t get into hyperbole territory here…it looks like the $1 fee is only for requesting a book from a different branch. It would be better if you clarified that.

    Now, granted, most local branches are tiny, so most of the books I get *are* on interlibrary loan, so if this were true it would concern me greatly.

    I would like to know where the folks on that website get their information, though. There’s no sourcing at all, which is a head-scratcher.

  2. I find the lack of new books and periodicals to be more disturbing than the inter library transfer fee but this is a step in the wrong direction. Policies like this give the appearance that the LAPL seems to be actively discouraging people from using their resources.

  3. A $1 fee for interlibrary loan requests? That actually seems somewhat reasonable… they’re saving you the trouble of going to the potentially distant branch to get your desired book. I don’t have a problem with this.

  4. Rumors,

    The problem is that most local branches are very small and rarely have the book I am looking for. I would probably stop using the library if they instituted this fee.

    And BTW, I contacted the people behind the savelapl.org site, and they pointed me to their FAQ, which has a couple sources. The $1 fee hike isn’t finalized yet. One thing to realize is that all this is because the library isn’t getting enough money from the city. I’m sure they would love to not have to make these changes.

  5. Best little known LA fact…if you live in Los Angeles county, you can use the Beverly Hills Library. Big, beautiful, well kept, well STOCKED with books that are more recent than the Korean Conflict, actual current magazines and newspapers, free wi fi, plentiful parking, and no gang tags on the shelving. Yum.

  6. This is dispiriting news. I use LAPL a lot for books and videos, often interbranch loans if the four (and soon to be five when the new Silver Lake branch opens) libraries nearest me don’t have what I want. I almost hate to put it in perspective, but the Burbank Library has a category of new books that cost $3 per week to, ahem, “borrow” and a similar fee for newer movies on DVD.

    Also, LAPL recently started charging a $1 fine if you didn’t pick up a reserved item within two weeks of being notified it was available.

    Maybe the city could get the royal family of Dubai to pony up for the library as part of their new role in the glitterization of Downtown?

    Yeah, right.

  7. I highly suggest a LA County library card to back up your LAPL card. With the County cards you also get access to libraries in LA that are outside the LAPL system.

  8. The fee for the $1 interlibrary holds has not yet been approved by the mayor but has been passed by the Library Board. So maybe with some pressure, there might be a chance that this fee won’t go through.
    If the budget crisis persists, be prepared for shortened library hours due to layoffs.

  9. RumorsDaily wrote:

    A $1 fee for interlibrary loan requests? That actually seems somewhat reasonable… they’re saving you the trouble of going to the potentially distant branch to get your desired book. I don’t have a problem with this.

    I have a really big problem with this. Public libraries should be free to the end user, at least where books are concerned. Period. Anything less than that is shameful.

    Imagine a middle school student who is writing reports for school (or is just intellectually curious and likes to read) and needs a number of materials that are scattered all over the city. What’s he supposed to do if he doesn’t have the money? He can’t drive to the other locations, his parents only have so much time, and he may not be allowed to travel around the city by himself on the bus. One of the reasons public libraries exist is to help people like him. They exist for the public good. One of the amazingly great things about living in a society such as this, and one that helps mitigate a lot of the shitty things, is the knowledge that any schmuck who requires it can walk into a public library, request a printed resource, and have that resource in his hands within days at no charge.

    If the people who hold the purse strings for the LAPL don’t understand this, shame on them, and shame on us if we put up with it.

    Budget crisis, my ass, by the way. The city seems to have plenty of money for giveaways to developers.

  10. Look, obviously I’d prefer if the library charged nothing, was open 24 hours a day, and had every book known to man clearly organized on it’s gleaming new and well-maintained shelves, but if we’re obligated to start charging fees at the library, this one seems like the most fair. Of all the activities I could engage in at the library, this use, in particular, requires a lot of extra effort and expense on the part of the library system — moving heavy books around a big city isn’t cheap, and if we’re all using it willy-nilly it’s going to cost a lot of money.

    If we’re in the midst of a budget crisis and my choices are reducing library staff, shortening library hours, buying fewer books, or charging a dollar for inter-library loan requests, I’d choose the fee. This cost cutting measure is the only one that doesn’t impact the entire library-using community and only affects those who are actively costing the library additional money beyond their baseline overhead.

    This just seems like a sensible idea for a library system that needs to trim.

  11. Wow. I hope they don’t approve this. There have been many times in my life when I was dead broke and getting books from the library was what saved me. I know $1 seems like nothing, but when you’re hard up, it can add up. Good to know about the Bev Hills library. Thanks for the tip.

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