Library board Trustee Alan Greenberg, who was appointed only three months ago, after President Paula Freund stepped down, is now running to keep his seat against a newcomer from the West End.
Challenger Diane Parr is looking to unseat Greenberg in the May 21 election, saying that the board needs better representation from all areas of Long Beach, and she wants to serve as a voice for the West End.
“The library is becoming more and more of a cultural center,” Greenberg said, adding that his focus is on bringing the facility into the 21st century. “It’s no longer just getting a book. It’s using the computer, it’s using the conference rooms, it’s the jazz festival.”
He said that the library has to make technology a bigger priority. The computers now being used in the main branch are more than 8 years old, Greenberg said, and the library should update them, and incorporate new technologies like iPads and Kindles. “I don’t care if you’re 7 years old or 70 years old, people want to use [e-readers],” Greenberg said. “We need to be able to teach [those technologies].”
He said he also thinks that residents enjoy classes, festivals and other cultural events at the library and find them useful, and they should be maintained and expanded.
Though Greenberg, 59, has been on the board only a short time, he said he has focused on getting up to speed on its issues and needs, and he is proud of the $3.4 million budget the board recently adopted. As a financial adviser, Greenberg said, he knows numbers, and can help handle the library’s finances in the future.
“I think the board is on top of keeping costs down and having taxpayers’ dollars used efficiently,” he said.
When it comes to the biggest gripe some residents have with the library budget — that the Hurricane Sandy-damaged West End branch, at 810 W. Beech St., which has remained closed since the storm, will not be restocked — Greenberg set he wanted to set the record straight. “I don’t want to close [the West End Branch],” he said. “I want to change it. I want to see about developing it in a different way.”