Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Race to the bottom continues - 12.27.04:
Steinbeck's hometown to close libraries
SALINAS, Calif. -- Mary Jean Gamble organized the John Steinbeck historical archives, supervised the Steinbeck literature collection and ranks as an authority on Salinas history and genealogy.
After nearly 23 years with the Salinas Public Library, she may know more about the "Grapes of Wrath" or "Cannery Row" than anyone else in the author's hometown.
So how would Steinbeck have reacted to the news that the cash-strapped city is closing its libraries in the spring?
"He'd obviously be upset. He knew that literature can lift and elevate the spirit and enable humans to rise above any situation," Gamble said. "He probably even read some of the great literature at the Salinas library."
Facing record deficits, the City Council voted Dec. 14 to shut all three of Salinas' libraries, including the branches named after Steinbeck and labor leader Cesar Chavez. The blue-collar town of 150,000 could become the most populous U.S. city without a public library. ~ MORE