A long but interesting piece by Pomona College Magazine’s Agustin Gurza about the troubles at the Pomona Public Library, headlined “The Book Budget Bind,” can be found here.
In their defense, city administrators argue that Pomona has been hit disproportionately by hard times, leaving them with only painful options for cutting the budget. The city’s tax base, already weak in comparison to some wealthier neighbors, was crippled in recent years by the flight of major retailers. Car dealerships shut down. Big-box stores like Toys “R” Us left town. The result: Pomona’s sales tax per capita was $87 in fiscal 2010-11, compared to $316 for the nearby city of Ontario.
The paradox in this municipal numbers game is that the deeper the economic crisis, the more people need their free library. That is especially true, supporters say, in a poor, predominantly Latino city like Pomona where people may not have Internet access at home and rely on the library for school research, job searches and even adult literacy lessons.