Kids: "Save Our Library"

Kids rally to save two Fort Worth libraries from budget ax

By Scott Gordon
|  Wednesday, Sep 2, 2009  |  Updated 1:15 AM CDT
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Kids Rally to Save Libraries From Budget Ax

City managers have proposed shutting the Wedgwood and Meadowbrook library branches to help make up a $60 million budget shortfall.

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Kids Rally to Save Libraries From Budget Ax

About two dozen protesters rally against the proposed closure of two Fort Worth libraries.
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Chanting "Save our library,” about two dozen protesters -- many of them children -- rallied Tuesday night against the proposed closure of two Fort Worth libraries.

It appeared they just might get their way.

Jacob Velasquez, 14, organized a march that began at the downtown library and ended several blocks away at City Hall.

"They can cut something else; they can raise taxes," Velasquez said as he led the march down Taylor Street. "But we need the libraries for the kids and the teens and the adults, especially now in these tough economic times."

Nine-year-old Caleb Lynch echoed the message.

"I want to see the library kept open," he said. "I have lots of favorite books in that library."

Velasquez worked for weeks to collect 1,600 signatures on a petition to save the Wedgwood and Meadowbrook libraries from the budget chopping block.

At Tuesday night's council meeting, he presented city leaders with the petitions before marching up to the microphone to defend the libraries.

"Now, more than ever, people need access to the free resources the library offers," Velasquez said.

City managers have proposed shutting the Wedgwood and Meadowbrook library branches and closing all but one city swimming pool to help make up a $60 million budget shortfall.

But the City Council, which makes the final decision, appears poised to close all city pools next year and juggle oil and gas revenues to save the libraries.

Councilman Jungus Jordan, whose district includes the Wedgwood branch, said he and his colleagues have decided libraries are more important.

"When it comes to swimming pools that are open four months a year versus libraries that are open year-round, we've made the decision," he said.

The City Council is set to vote on the final budget in two weeks.

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