Beginning October 15, the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) restored Monday and Wednesday evening and Friday morning hours at all 73 city libraries. The restoration represents a 15 percent increase in hours over 2011, according to LAPL Public Relations & Marketing Director Peter V. Persic. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, councilmembers, students, and recently appointed City Librarian John F. Szabo announced the news at a press conference on the steps of the Central Library.
Said Szabo, “Restoring weekday hours restores library access for people searching for jobs, taking computer classes, learning to read at our literacy centers and much more. Having libraries open during the evening is especially beneficial to children and students because we provide a safe, adult-supervised place with after-school programs, homework help, college prep workshops and free computer access.”
The restoration is funded by the Measure L ballot initiative, which was passed in March 2011, and is the second of four phases of restoration of library services that are taking place over four years. In the first phase, which took place last year, all LAPL branches re-opened on Mondays. In 2014, nine libraries will re-open on Sundays.
Said Villaraigosa, “It pained me greatly to make the decision to reduce library hours in 2010. Restoration gets the City back on track and one step closer to fully restoring our City’s library hours. None of this would have been possible without voter support of Measure L.”
In 2010, Mondays, Wednesday evenings, and Friday mornings were all cut, as well as Sundays at nine libraries, as a result of a 15 percent cut in the operating budget, which caused a 28 percent reduction in staff. Persig told LJ, “Staff has be rehired to allow for the restored service hours.”
LA’s proposed city services card, which would be supported by the library through financial literacy education, also took a step forward this week. A City Council committee unanimously approved a plan to solicit proposals from private companies, the New York Times reported. The plan will now go to the full Council for a vote.