“Any time you need me, you can call on me. I’ll come again to help you to make this library survive,” Ray Bradbury told a crowd of 300 filling the Long Beach Public Library’s auditorium last Friday at a victory celebration for saving the facility from closure. The 88-year-old author earlier had come to the aid of the threatened Main Library in a scathing op-ed appearing in the Press Telegram that laid bare the folly of the city’s plan to close it to save a few million. “Is Long Beach at war with the printed word and books?” Bradbury asked, further pondering “How can a major city not provide access to a civic center library?” The decision to keep the library open was influenced by intense public pressure, and I have no doubt that Ray’s piece was one of the reasons the city did a 180 and funded the library instead of closing it.
We’ve all heard authors pouring accolades on libraries, but when push comes to shove some of them actually do something about it. Ray, you’re the man. On behalf of library lovers everywhere, I salute you.