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Angelenos May Vote to Increase Library Funding in March Election

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At library funding protest in May, 2010 (more photos here) | Photo by Zach Behrens/LAist

When library hours were shortened by two days this summer, thanks to budget cuts, there was a movement to save them via the ballot. The prospect of that is nearing reality. Today the L.A. City Council voted to have language drawn up to put such a measure before voters on March 8th, 2011.

If approved -- both by the City Council to place it on the ballot and then by the voters at the polls -- libraries would be guaranteed a bigger chunk of money annually. They are mostly funded via a formula based on assessed value of all property within Los Angeles city limits. In other words, while property taxes do not directly contribute to libraries, they are the basis for how much the city must fund libraries at a minimum. The formula is dictated by the City Charter, which can only be changed by a vote of the people.

“Unfortunately, the funding protections in place in the City Charter for Libraries are not as robust as those for Recreation and Parks, which allowed for disproportionate, draconian cuts to our library system in the 2010 / 2011 Budget,” Councilmember Bernard Parks, who co-authored the motion, said.