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LA public libraries relaunch evening, morning hours

By Hayley Fox
Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012, at 08:50AM
Flickr via LifeSupercharger

Downtown's Central Library is one of the 73 L.A. public libraries have restored Monday and Wednesday evening service and Friday morning service.

Downtown's Central Library is among the 73 L.A. public libraries that have relaunched hours of service on Monday and Wednesday evenings, and Friday mornings.

This marks the second phase in a library restoration process which aims to bring public library services back to what they were before City budget cuts took effect in 2010. These cuts reduced operating hours to their lowest level in the library’s 140-year history and caused the City to lay off library employees and eliminate any unfilled positions. Overall, this led to a 30 percent reduction in library staff.

“Libraries are vital neighborhood resources. It pained me greatly to make the decision to reduce library hours in 2010," said Mayor Villaraigosa in a statement. "Restoration [of hours] gets the City back on track and one step closer to fully restoring our City’s library hours."

The libraries relaunched their extended hours on Monday: Central Library will now be open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

“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—in short—all the resources children need to succeed in school and in life,” said City Librarian John F. Szabo in a statement.

Most other library branches will be open Monday through Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m, Tuesday and Thursday from 12:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The money to make improvements in services comes from Measure L, a city ballot initiative passed in March 2011 with support from more than 62 percent of Angelenos. The measure is not a tax but rather allocates more of the city's existing funds towards the library in an attempt to restore operating hours to the pre-budget crisis level.

Future improvements through 2015 include purchases of new books and other materials, as well as the restoration of Sunday hours at nine libraries in Los Angeles.

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