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Victory for Library and Citizens, Too

July 16, 1989

The Friends of the Library of Monterey Park are justifiably elated with the Appellate Court's decision to reinstate the Board of Library Trustees which was abolished by the Monterey Park City Council.

This is not only a victory for the Friends and the people of Monterey Park with its tradition dating back to 1929 of a management board, but a precedent-setting case as well. There has never before been a California court ruling that libraries should be overseen by an independent board and that city officials cannot legally disband the board. This decision affects libraries throughout the state of California and is also of nationwide interest.

While (the council majority) considered the funding requirements of the Library Municipal Act archaic, the facts are that the council exercises final budget approval and it even has the much coveted line-item veto. How much more control does the council need? So all we can conclude is that the members wanted absolute control. But such control . . . politicizes the library to the detriment of the community. Even George Washington feared the absolute control of kings!

The Friends are committed to preserving the library as a center to supplement the formal system of free public education and as a source of information and inspiration to persons of all ages, cultural backgrounds and economic status.

TISA LEVINE

President, Friends of the Library

of Monterey Park

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