Gordon Tokumatsu and Martin Proctor
All the libraries in the City of Los Angeles were open for business on Monday, the first Monday they have been open in about a year. The money came from a measure voters approved back in March. But libraries aren't out of the woods yet when it comes to budget problems.
For Los Angeles residents like Gilbert Duran and his two sons, the library never lost its appeal.
"There's a lotta different things going on," according to Gilbert Duran, a library user.
But they were disappointed when, about a year ago, the city closed 73 branches on Mondays.
That dreaded phrase "budget cuts" was cited.
Even though the library was closed, some librarians and staff would still report for work on Mondays, and just stare wistfully as people approached, sometimes with books in hand.
"We felt sorry for the people that would come to the door, read our hours and turn away with dejected looks," recalls Jan Metzler, Senior Librarian, Chatsworth Branch.
Now the library isn't just a place for books anymore. It's a babysitter for kids after school, a place to expand educational horizons, or even help people to look for a job.
So the timing of the cutbacks seemed a little "off."
Studies show library usage in the US actually increased over the past ten years, with 1 1/2 billion visits in 2008 alone.
But times are tough, and budgets tight, until measure "L" came along.
Last March voters choose to funnel $13 million a year to libraries from existing property tax coffers.
"It was a library that really opened a world to me," says Antonio Villaraigosa, Mayor of Los Angeles.
But now the Mayor announced that all 73 branches will now be open again, on Mondays.
A small victory that to bibliophiles, free internet users, and job-seekers everywhere means so much.