Salinas Library Update
Salinas library saved from closing
Community support saved the Salinas Public Library from closing down this year, though it has drastically reduced the hours its three branches are open each week.
In April, Mayor Anna Caballero’s Rally Salinas effort announced that they had raised more than the $500,000 needed to keep the library’s doors open through the end of the year. Many members of the staff quit their jobs, anticipating the library’s closure, and late in April, Salinas officials announced that they could keep the John Steinbeck and Cesar Chavez branches open only 18 hours per week, while the El Gabilan branch will be open only 13 hours per week.
The library’s financial crisis made the national and international news at the end of last year, when the failure of two funding issues left the city strapped for dollars. For a time it looked as if the city would close the public library, but then a number of public officials, including State Librarian of California Susan Hildreth and American Library Association President-elect Michael Gorman, joined an effort to prevent this drastic measure from going into effect. The city of Salinas is currently considering a ballot measure to provide stable funding for the library and other city services slated for reduction.
The public library has special symbolic importance because Salinas was the hometown of John Steinbeck, winner of the Nobel Prize in literature and one of California’s most famous authors.