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Disneyland and Library Funding

August 22, 1993

I cannot believe what I read in the newspapers recently.

The state of California will be helping out Disneyland to the tune of millions of dollars at a time when it has just cut the funding of the 87 libraries in the Los Angeles County library system. We should be ashamed of ourselves!

It has been said that this move will create jobs in Orange County; how does that help when the other action just cut the jobs of 500 dedicated library workers? Don't we have enough entertainment that does little to improve the reading skills of our children who believe that Walt Disney wrote "Winnie the Pooh," "Aladdin," "Bambi" and any other classic that he could get his claws into and smear with his insipid goo.

I work at Diamond Bar Library. We are the only library for the city's 53,000 residents. We are currently open six days a week for a total of 50 hours. During that time we provide circulation, reference service and programming. I offer three story times a week, including one for toddlers serving over 250 children a week. We provide homework assistance and a safe environment for many latchkey children.

With the cuts made by our legislators, this library will only be open three days a week for a total of 21 hours. We will have no reference service at all and no children's programs.

People coming into the library will have to find items on their own. Librarians must possess a master's degree and have a lot of experience working with the intricate system of library organization. Volunteers, no matter how willing, cannot do this. We know that people will not find what they want and will leave the library disappointed.

Many new immigrants come to us to learn the language and culture in which they find themselves. Where will they go without a library and without anyone to help them?

It is a big mistake to cut libraries, the last democratic institution in the United States. I am a naturalized citizen of this country and I was once proud of that fact. I am becoming increasingly disillusioned with what we call a democracy when it cuts the right of people to have a library.

Shame on our legislators and shame on us for allowing it to happen!



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