Fund the Libraries

Open Letter to Supervisor Das Williams:

I was astonished to learn that the county is considering reducing funds for the Carpinteria Library and is maintaining the $7.80 per capita distribution to all libraries while asking the City of Carpinteria to add an additional $15,000 to the $35,000 it has allocated.

Anyone who enters the Carp Library knows within minutes how well utilized it is. More than just a library, it is virtually a community center. Many people, who do not have computers or Internet access, are constantly there — filling in job applications, communicating with friends and family, reading the news, becoming informed. Our library is their lifeline.

Not only is the library a place to take out books, DVDs, and audio books, we have librarians to assist students and adults in their search needs, whether for school work, advanced course work, or just expanding their opportunities and their mind. Every community needs a library, and we are fortunate that we have such an excellent one.

Recently I had another opportunity to work with the art program of the library. Several of the children won prizes through the annual Carpinteria Woman’s Club Art Contest. The homework center provides a safe place for children whose parents are working, gives them help with their homework and the use of computers. It is desperately needed in our community. Dismissing those employees and doing so in front of the children is unacceptable and demonstrates poor management practices.

There is probably no place in Carpinteria that has more traffic and utilization. The Carp Public Library was the first county branch library in the State of California. Please fight for your local residents to maintain and support the library.

The inefficiency and poor management of the Central Library should not affect the budget of branch libraries, especially those that do major fundraising to support the library operations (over $70,000 per year) and have quality programs for children. We should not be penalized.

What is more important than an educated community? Libraries are not an unnecessary frill to a community but a necessity.

Please do whatever you can to maintain our libraries.

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