Last login: Thursday, November 5, 2009
The New Central library should have opened in 2007. It was the one significant public infrastructure element-that's right, your tax dollars and mine too- in the ballpark redevelopment area.
There is a dreadful irony that Mr. DeMaio would bring up using CCDC monies allocated to the New Central for debt payment on the Petco Park bonds instead. So it's perfectly fine that taxpayers subsidize a private business- the ballpark- but we are told to go knocking on doors for donations to provide a much needed, planned public facility!
Citizens value their public facilities- they love and use their libraries and park and recreation centers. This was made eminently clear last year when Mayor Sanders proposed the closure of 7 branch libraries and 9 park and recreation facilities.
It is shortsighted and disingenuous however on the part of our elected representatives to use the tremendous support of the public for their branch libraries as a wedge issue against a New Central library. The branches are part of a library system that is supported by the resources- human, technological and material- that are provided by the central library. I know this first hand because I recently retired from 24 years of service from the Central library information desk. I served all library branches by drawing upon the expertise and training and in depth subject knowledge that the public needs and cannot be provided in a branch. People called or visited in person from throughout the city. Many callers were sitting in front of a computer, but had no idea how to search and find reliable information. Our leaders should be actively dispelling the erroneous notion that everyone has a computer, so who needs libraries; and that the Central library is simply a warehouse for books.
If our elected representatives truly want to maintain and strengthen their branch libraries, why is there a consistent lack of a commitment to the library ordinance? Why is the library system budget disproportionately reduced compared to other general fund departments?
The City Council has both the power and the responsibility to support libraries. They need to be maintained, supplied with up to date materials and technology, be adequately staffed and have convenient hours for the public.
The chronic and disproportionate lack of funding to the library system reflects political decision making more than economic factors. San Diego has gone through cycles of boom and bust and 35 years later we still don't have a New Central library. That's politics and political priorities.
When we crawl out of the current economic black hole, will we be looking at a new convention center? A new football stadium next to Petco Park?
Or will we be looking at a New Central library?
November 5, 2009 at 1:29 p.m.
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