EDITORIAL: City Influence Could Improve Libraries
During these challenging economic times, we keep hearing of so many cutbacks on critical services that mean so much to our quality of life. That’s why it’s refreshing to read through a plan to actually increase the services of our Santa Clarita Libraries.
How? Well, currently our three Santa Clarita libraries are run by Los Angeles County. As with a number of services, our valley doesn’t always receive our fair share of the money we pay out in County taxes.
In the case of our libraries, we’ve watched $14 million dollars in special library taxes paid by Santa Clarita residents since 2003 slip out of our Valley to subsidize other locations by Los Angeles County. That money never made its way back to our Valley.
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An analysis by the City of Santa Clarita reveals we could actually increase our library hours and services by having the City take over operation since all of the money we currently pay in taxes would stay right here in Santa Clarita. We’d still have access to the entire County Library collection through the Southern California Library Cooperative.
And if the City chooses to contract out services to operate our libraries, similar to the way they are efficiently doing so with Santa Clarita Transit, further library enhancements could take place.
KHTS applauds this plan. We believe City operation will create a significant benefit to this vital service in our community and open the door to a wealth of new creative possibilities and partnerships for our three libraries.
If the City does take over operation of our libraries, we encourage it to establish an oversight committee, containing a cross section of community representatives, similar to the one created for our Open Space. This will allow for more diverse input and further establish local control of its operation.
KHTS urges our City Council to take a position of moving forward with the next step to gain City control and ownership of all three of our libraries.