Salinas Turning To Libraries to Prevent Gang Violence

SALINAS, Calif. -- With one shooting already in the books for the New Year, the city of Salinas is now turning to libraries in hopes of curbing gang violence.

For more than a year, library director Elizabeth Martinez has led the literacy campaign, which has already handed out 30,000 library cards. "We are astonished by the response of the community, people who want help for their families,” Martinez said. In fact, 65,000 Salinas residents own a library card, which is 45 percent of the population – twice the national average.

Mayor Donohue of Salinas is pushing a literacy campaign that would make the city the first in the country to require every student to have a library card.

“The libraries are really one of our best weapons on the prevention side to make sure we get as many young people out to the right start in life," Donohue said.



In Los Angeles we have gangs in the library, however they have a tendency to tear it up, tag the flat surfaces, and harass the staff & customers!

In fact, I happen to work with our Probation Department, issuing library cards to their "charges". When I offered one of the officers to bring her kids in for a class visit I was told, "Oh no, I would Never do that to you, I like you. My kids would destroy your library and I don't want that to happen." Go figure!

But, I hear many good things about Ms. Martinez, and as I recall she was employed by both major library systems in L.A., as well ans being an instructor @ SJSU-SLIS.

Hopefully, this new project of hers will work.