ALA President issues statement on closure of Colton (Calif.) Public Library System

Contact: Macey Morales
ALA Media Relations
312-280-4393
mmorales@ala.org

NEWS
For Immediate Release
November 18, 2009

CHICAGO – The City of Colton, Calif. has closed its library system in response to a $5 million revenue shortfall.  More than 51,000 residents will be without local library service in an effort for the City to save $4 million in the current fiscal year. 

The following is a statement from American Library Association (ALA) President Camila Alire on the closure of the Colton (Calif.) Library System.

“How can Colton combat the recession if its leaders take away free access to employment resources?” said ALA President Camila Alire.  “Libraries are the key to getting Americans back on their feet by serving the needs of a growing number of job seekers.

“In every part of the country, library staff report that record numbers are turning to library computers and Internet access to find work, apply for jobs online, type resumes and cover letters and open e-mail accounts.

“Most jobs (and many government services) require online applications at a time when many people lack home Internet access and the necessary online search, software or even basic keyboard skills.

 “We understand that in a recession difficult choices must be made, but libraries are part of the solution when a community is struggling economically.  The library closures will surely have a negative impact on the economic wellbeing of Colton as its citizens will no longer have access to resources that can help stimulate the local economy. 

“Every service hour lost in our libraries translates into millions of lost opportunities to connect people to distance education, unemployment benefits, and hands-on help.

 “I encourage the citizens of Colton to contact their local leadership to express their opposition to the closures, and urge City Manager Bob Miller to reconsider the closures of Colton’s libraries.”