Los Angeles City Librarian Fontayne Holmes received over 800 emails urging her to abandon the proposed $1 fee for inter-branch books. As a result, she has gone on record as opposing the fee and will instead propose that the late charge fine be increased by a nickel to 30¢ per day.
The campaign against the proposed fee was fast and furious and effective and is all started when a library customer mentioned the fee to the President of a local Friends of the Library Society who alerted the board and a couple of Neighborhood Councils and some friends, all of which led to the formation of the “Save the LA Public Library” group and the email campaign that demonstrated the effectiveness of a focused, grass roots effort.
The irony in the $1 fee for transfer books is that the whole “transfer books” concept came about as a cost-cutting mechanism that allowed the City of Los Angeles Library to maintain 72 branches without having to stock 72 libraries worth of books. The cost cutting has already been realized and the $1 fee would be insult on top of injury.
Meanwhile, the budget “crisis” looms and while the nickel increase in daily fines seems innocuous, it comes with proposed reductions in service, maintenance, book buying funds and even the length of the loan period from 3 weeks to 2. (The increase in fines makes sense now!)
If you have any desire to support the City of Los Angeles Library, now is the time to reach out, make contact with the local Friends of the Library Society and let them know that you’d like to help. After all, it’s your library.
Holmes was recently honored by the Urban Libraries Council with the ULC 2007 Urban Player Award and recognized by Martin Gomez, ULC President who said of Holmes “Fontayne takes it a step further – she’s an inspiration to our industry…a living reminder the libraries belong to their communities and that the job of library leaders is to be guardians and stewards of that ownership.”