The California Public Libraries Association, which represents more than 3,000 libraries in California, is asking that the state’s public library system raise the fees to fund its toxic waste cleanup efforts.
The move comes after the state Department of Public Health announced a $10 million program to clean up waste at more than a dozen libraries and is one of a handful of state agencies that have been trying to deal with the threat of lead contamination in the state.
In a letter to Gov.
Jerry Brown, the association said the library system has not made clear that its proposed fee increases would go toward “cleanups and remediation efforts at other libraries in the region.”
The library system said in a statement that it is “committed to addressing the growing threat of toxic lead contamination, and that our work to eliminate lead has created an environment in which the public is more likely to understand the full scope of the situation and contribute to solving it.”
The association’s request comes amid heightened scrutiny of the state library system following the deadly poisoning of a 14-year-old boy at a Los Angeles public school in 2016.
The Los Angeles Unified School District, which operates many of the libraries in Los Angeles County, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the association’s proposal.
The association said in its letter that it had been working with the L.A. Unified School district for years on the plan to cleanup lead, but the proposal was delayed until after the death of the boy in 2016 because of “a lack of clarity” from the LLSD.
The LLSDC, which has not yet announced a replacement for the boy’s case, is under scrutiny in part because of how it handled the deaths of several children in its care over the last several years.