Library cuts hurt the vulnerable

City Council members: Please reconsider how the budget reductions are distributed across the city. The deep cuts proposed for the library will adversely affect those who are most vulnerable – the elderly, the unemployed, children, students (with no access to computers or the internet) and those in need of adult literacy tutoring. The proposed cuts will necessitate a severe curtailing of the library’s operating hours, thus reducing access to core services and programs that the community depends upon.

The A.K. Smiley Public Library makes Redlands one of the most unique communities in California. There is simply no other public library in the state that can compare to our library in terms of its historical character, charm and distinctiveness. The cultural life of the community is enriched by the library’s children and adult programming.

We have heard testimonials as to the benefits gained from employment workshops, computer classes and adult literacy tutoring — all of which contribute to personal and professional growth and to the economic health of the community. More people than you may realize are impacted by the library and its services.

Of the 52 citywide positions slated to be cut, the library’s share represents nearly one-third of the total. In addition, the positions cut in the library are attached to real people, not unfilled positions. How does this compare with other city departments? Is this equitable? Please consider the effect of these cuts and their effect on our community.

Les Kong, president, Friends of the A.K. Smiley Public Library