Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard Parks Thursday made a $30,000 donation to five branch libraries from his district’s discretionary funds as a parting gift prior to leaving office this month.
The Angeles Mesa, Exposition Park, Hyde Park, John Muir and Mark Twain branches — all in the termed-out councilman’s 8th District — will get infusions of $6,000 each.
Library officials said the money will likely be used for holding events and activities at the branches. Cheryl Collins, the library’s director of branch library services, said these branches do not have much support from large fundraising groups, “and really can use this extra money for programming.”
The money is being transferred from the 8th District’s AB 1290 account, which was set up to receive money distributed from the city’s now-dissolved redevelopment agency. The agency was funded by tax increment money collected in areas around the city that were flagged as being blighted and in need of improvement.
Parks has given smaller amounts to the libraries in the past, between $450 to $500 at a time, to the Hyde Park and Angeles Mesa branches.
The councilman also authored Measure L, approved in 2011, which restores services lost during the recession over a period of four years without increasing taxes.
The library lost 30 percent of its staffing and hours in 2010 and 2011, and the measure has since restored Monday hours and two evenings at the city’s 73 libraries. Sunday hours at the Central Library and eight regional branches were restored in January 2014.
Parks, a former Los Angeles police chief who served three four-year terms on the City Council, leaves office at the end of this month. He will be succeeded on the council by former Community Coalition president Marqueece Harris-Dawson on July 1.
—City News Service