Sunday, April 17, 2011

Closing libraries in America: Public Library. An American Commons

Tulare free library

Two years ago, we had the surprise that due to the economy, our library in Huntington Beach would be closed on weekends. Too bad for everybody, on weekends the library is usually full.
Now, it's open again and I have my hopes that libraries as public spaces will be given the importance they deserve.

A free library in Fresno
Inside Long Beach Library

From the article by Robert Dawson:
These are brutal times for public libraries. Two years ago they froze book purchases. Last year they cut staff and reduced service hours, spreading the pain among branches in rolling blackouts. This year they are on the chopping block again, and there is nothing to cut but bone. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed budget includes an 8 percent cut to library funding. The Houston Public Library is trying to make sense of a nearly 30 percent cut. Two weeks ago the library board in Gary, Indiana, voted to close the main library; it was either that or lose all four satellite branches.

Library and post office. Tuscarora, Nevada

Public Library: An American Commons will be on view in the San Francisco Main Library, Jewett Gallery, April 9 – June 12, 2011. Related events include an artist talk on April 12; a gallery walkthrough with Robert Dawson and curator Ellen Manchester on May 7; “From Carnegie to Koolhaas,” an artist talk focusing on library architecture on May 14; and a panel discussion with San Francisco architects on the architecture and design of San Francisco branch libraries, including LEED and sustainable design, on May 18.

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