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Library closings irk H’wood

Oliver Stone, Sidney Sheldon and Roger L. Simon are among the entertainment industry honchos who have signed a letter sent to the L.A. County Board of Supervisors denouncing a proposal to close and/or reduce opening hours of dozens of libraries within the county.

Nine libraries have already been closed in the county and 11 more are skedded to close by the end of 1993.

“It angers us, as people who have devoted our lives to literary and free expression pursuits, that the fiber of the cultural life of Los Angeles County — in the form of its public library system — is somehow perceived as more expendable than other legitimate activities of government,” the letter stated.

“Culture is the soul of any society, without which that society cannot exist. To devastate culture — libraries in particular — in the pretense of preserving more supposedly important services is wrongheaded, shortsighted and ill-advised.”

The letter, given to all five Supervisors, was signed by 33 members of Pen Center USA West.

Among those from the entertainment and publishing industries to sign were Ray Bradbury, Steve Allen, Kenneth Turan, Malcolm Boyd, Harlan Ellison, Eric Lax, Jonathan Kellerman, Robert Schenkkan, Richard Reeves and Wanda Coleman.

“In a sense, bringing this protest to the Board of Supervisors does not addressthe real cause of this problem, which is the budget decisions this year in Sacramento by Gov. Wilson and the legislature,” said Simon, newly installed prez of PEN Center USA West.

“But we are bringing our case to the Board of Supervisors because it is they who ultimately decide on budget priorities and it is they who must understand that cuts that will see the closure of at least 50 of 85 library branches are simply unacceptable.”