Is Long Beach at war with books?

August 10, 2008 at 5:49 pm Leave a comment

Ray Bradbury writes in the Press-Telegram:

Over the years I have had a love affair with Long Beach and frequently visit.

A few weeks ago I was in your city to mourn the pending forced closure of Acres of Books. Since 1934 this unique cultural heritage landmark bookstore has been a destination for book lovers from around the world with its inventory of over 1 million books. The current city leadership has forced its closure and will bulldoze the site to develop a strip mall and parking lot, an action they call progress.

I recently learned of the pending forced closure of the Long Beach Main Library from public access to balance the city budget. This is heartbreak and an outrage. Libraries are also an essential core public service. How can a major city not provide public access to a civic center library?

City Hall decisions will remove access to over 1.5 million books from one square mile of the city! Is Long Beach at war with the printed word and books?

I have great love for public libraries and received my education there. It was in the library stacks I discovered centuries of human thought and mined those stacks for mind-expanding experiences to fuel my writing. There the great authors were standing shoulder to shoulder on the library shelves just waiting for me to discover them. In fact, it was in the basement of the UCLA Powell Library I wrote Fahrenheit 451 on a pay typewriter.

Forward-thinking citizens established the Long Beach Public Library in 1908 with the help of Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie believed anyone with the right inclination and desire could educate himself if a free public library was available. A Long Beach Main Public Library has stood in the park for 100 years. Your Long Beach Friends of the Library when formed made national headlines by facing down community pressure to remove blacklisted books, including Fahrenheit 451, from the library shelves with Blanche Collins, librarian, in a three-year stand against censorship.

The Long Beach Friends of the Library and Library Foundation continue their work to ensure free, equitable, and accessible library services for every community in Long Beach

Tell City Hall NO to the threatened closure! Long Beach residents and children deserve nothing less than access to a downtown library with ready access to books and programs to help them achieve their goals and aspirations.

Ray Bradbury

Los Angeles

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Entry filed under: Our Community. Tags: , , , , .

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