Amazon is no match for Long Beach's public libraries, despite what a recent article in Forbes said. In this photo, a library patron browses the stacks at the Alamitos Neighborhood Library. Courtesy photo.
A library patron browses the stacks at the Alamitos Neighborhood Library. Courtesy photo

The Alamitos, Brewitt and Dana neighborhood libraries—which paused in-person service over the summer—will remain closed through the end of March, the Long Beach Public Library announced Thursday.

Due to a dire staffing shortage across the library system, especially at the supervisorial levels, the libraries will extend to-go services, Cathy De Leon, director of Long Beach Library Services told the Post on Tuesday.

“You have to have a certain level of staff in order to be able to supervise a library,” De Leon said. “We just have a significant shortage of staff in that classification and so we’re just not able to open for full service at this time.”

The three branches are offering to-go service, which allows patrons to still call the library to make requests and pick up items from staff, who will hand it off at the door. Patrons can use the LBPL To-Go function to place holds and pick up print and audiovisual resources such as books, DVDs and Chromebooks. Residents can also apply for and pick up new library cards.

Library officials said Thursday that funding is not being reduced.

“You can call if you need information or anything else,” De Leon said. “We’re just not letting people in the building right now.”

The doors at these locations remain closed to the public as De Leon and her staff interview and train people for a number of “key” staff positions, she said. The three libraries specifically require senior librarians, who supervise operations and staff, and general librarians who provide specialized library services.

DeLeon said she is desperately trying to fill these positions so that the neighborhood libraries can reopen to the public as soon as possible.

“We’re in the process of interviewing staff, and the first priority is to reopen those buildings,” DeLeon said on Tuesday.

On Aug. 2, 2022, the libraries closed to the public in response to a staffing shortage spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as retirements and vacancies of the buildings.

The three locations were chosen based on their proximity to other library sites. Bluff Heights’ Alamitos was closed because it’s relatively close to the Billie Jean King Main Library. Brewitt, which is near Recreation Park, and Dana in Bixby Knolls were also chosen for closure because there are other libraries in those respective council districts, the Post previously reported.

The three libraries are still accessible by phone and for picking up items during regular library hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to 7 p.m.; Wednesdays from noon to 6 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.