The Final Chapter?
By Robert Kreutzer
Reading may be fundamental, but in Pomona, some feel that right is being threatened for its kids.
Like so many other cities, Pomona is in financial pig crap and has to do a Jason Voorhees on its budget. One set of slashes the city eyeballed was the public library. This has some folks riled up.
Before queuing up taps, though, the consensus is wide on keeping the Pomona Public Library open. The city council discussed the matter during a recent, well-attended meeting held just last month. Still, the library’s situation is far from OK, and the matter isn’t settled.
Some concerned with a possible closure have posted a Facebook page, “Don’t Close the Pomona Library!” The page has received a spirited response.
“I no longer live in Pomona. . . but I remember as a kid going to the library to check out books, albums, and 8-track tapes. I love going to the Laura Ingalls Wilder room and for a while my kids also went to the library . . . why close the library? keep it open for the next generation,” said one poster identifying herself as Yolanda Brown.
The city is looking at various options to keep the library open. A task force will have regular meetings to look those choices. Not too many people are pleased about doing it that way, but Councilmember Paula Lantz said it’s better than the alternative.
“It’s a placeholder, but I think it’s a great improvement over closing the library,” Lantz told the Weekly by telephone recently. She mentioned the library is actually a year older than the City of Pomona itself, and Lantz talked about the personal connection so many—including herself—have with the library.
“Several young people who came told us how fondly they remembered the summer reading programs,” Lantz recalls. “They would read a certain number of books then get a prize. My mother, who’s 97, still comes to the library every week. We just bought her a luggage pull so she can bring her books home.”
Donna McDow, a part-time employee at the library, sees first-hand what the library means to so many families.
“You see the kids come in and they like to read, but they don’t have these resources at home,” says McDow, who works at the circulation desk. “It needs to stay open not only for these kids, but for the many older people who also come in and who also can’t afford the books.”
Co-worker Kendra Blake also emphasized the community’s need for the library.
“We don’t have much in the way of bookstores or transportation in Pomona,” Blake says. “We don’t have Internet cafes. For many of the kids who come in, the library is the only place for books and Internet access.”
One option that’s getting some notice is contracting with another library system. Former Council Member Tim Saunders isn’t so keen to that one.
“Our library has been open for over 100 years,” Saunders said. “We have so many books and other objects that are so invaluable to this community. There’s no price you can put on them. If you contract it to another system, they’ll take it.”
Blake elaborated on that loss.
“When the library started collecting these things, they weren’t history, but now they’re history. We are constantly visited by Cal Poly and Claremont students when they need things.”