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Poorer cities and towns struggling to maintain libraries

library cherry wong.jpg
Cherry Wong
/
Flickr / Creative Commons

The small town of Planada has no library. Since 2014, bookmobiles have replaced library buildings entirely in Planada, along with three other communities. This is due to a decision by Merced County officials to cut costs by closing four library branches.

With half of the public libraries in the county now being closed, community members feel that the youth are even more at-risk. Without these libraries, an increasing number of children may begin to avoid leaving the house or fall victim to gang activity. Libraries are a resource for people of all ages to enjoy the air conditioning, meet with groups, and spend time outside of work or school.

Poor funding is the reasoning for reductions in the size of Merced County Libraries, and other library systems. Other communities, such as Santa Clara County, receive more funding due to having a higher income per resident. Poorer zip codes receive less funding, with wealthier coastal and urban areas tending to be better funded.

In richer communities, such as Gilroy, libraries have more hours and amenities. This enables them to provide the community with better resources, services, and accessibility than libraries in poorer zip codes.

Radio host, producer, and editor who recently graduate from the broadcasting program at San Francisco State University. His goal is to use media as a vehicle to incite positive change, bring awareness to leaders from marginalized communities, and create inspiring/educational content.