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Donation for Brentwood Library

February 20, 1988

The controversy over building a new library for Brentwood (Metro, Feb. 3) illustrates how people of limited vision try to reduce the quality of life for everyone, including themselves.

Everyone who works in the Los Angeles Public Library system has battleground stories of working under handicaps. As a Central Library employee I was hot in the summer (no air conditioning), cold in the winter (no heating), moved gingerly through underlighted stacks open to any strange person who happened to wander in (no, I don't mean the employees), and carried a book on every elevator ride so I'd have something to do if (when) it stalled.

Things changed after the fire. The elevators weren't working and the stacks were closed. To compensate for the loss, we got the threat of asbestos, smoky filth everywhere and hard labor cleaning and boxing books.

Now I work in the West San Fernando Valley where we store large sheets of plastic to drape over bookcases when it rains, move carefully around discarded furniture and machines that haven't been picked up in years because the trucks are too busy handling Central problems.

And why do these terrible things happen? Because the city has to provide a large number of services to a large number of people. An area with more limited library services may be receiving greater police and health services.

The greater injustice is when people who can't see beyond their own needs condemn improvement for others. It is particularly ironic in this case since the enriched Brentwood collection--5,000 more books--will be available to all city users through intra-library loan. In trying to limit Brentwood, they limit us all.

JACQELEN RUBEN

Woodland Hills

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