Dear Santa Monica City Council,

I just read Ingha Chopra’s letter to the editor in the Santa Monica Daily Press and felt compelled to write to the Santa Monica Daily Press. As a former Santa Monica resident, as well as a former library volunteer at the Fairview Branch, I was saddened to learn that the city of Santa Monica announced the defunding of the Santa Monica Public Library system.

As a current academic librarian and long-time supporter of public libraries, I understand how valuable library resources and services are for our community members. From January to October 2010, I served as a Resume Assistance Tutor at the Santa Monica Public Library Fairview Branch helping patrons who were unemployed, reentering the workforce, looking for career changes, or seeking better opportunities to provide for their family. These were individuals who relied on this critical library service and appointment slots were often booked weeks in advance. In affluent cities such as Santa Monica, it is easy to forget those who are not as wealthy as the average Santa Monica resident. During precarious times such as now, where millions of unemployed Americans are looking for jobs and children were out of traditional classroom settings for the past 15 months, I see a greater need to provide this and other library services to Santa Monica residents who need it most. Allocating funds to rehire talented public library employees and to bring back essential library services will allow the Santa Monica Public Library system to fulfill its mission to “provide resources, services, and a place to encourage the community to read, connect, relax, and learn”.

Juliana Espinosa, former library volunteer and Santa Monica resident. Email or contact @SaveSMLibrary1 for more information.