Measure to Keep Libraries Open Longer to Appear on Ballot
Los Angeles voters will have the chance to decide if they want to almost double annual funding for the city’s libraries.
The city council voted unanimously on Tuesday to place an initiative on the March 8 ballot that would increase the annual allotment from the city’s general fund to the library department from 0.0175 percent of the assessed value of all property taxes to 0.03 percent. If a majority of voters approve the measure, the increase in funding would be phased in over four years.
“Libraries are a proven and cost-effective way to improve our economy and keep our youth on the right track,” said City Council President Eric Garcetti, 13th District. “This measure supports libraries with no increased cost to the taxpayers.”
According to City Librarian Martin Gomez, the city charter has allocated the same percentage of the general fund since 1925, when the city had 30 libraries.
Today, the city operates 73 libraries, but the budget crisis has forced a drastic reduction in hours. Regional libraries are now open only six days a week and branch libraries five days a week.
If a majority of voters approve the ballot measure, library hours will be restored to the 2009-2010 fiscal year schedule.