Rare Book Monthly

Articles - September - 2020 Issue

A Loss of Airline Service Becomes a Major Loss for a City's Libraries

When an airline stops serving a city it is a loss for its citizens, both travelers and businesses that serve them. It can also be tough on civic pride. However, one institution that generally is exempt from the loss is the local library. There isn't much of a connection between the library and an airline, except in the case of Long Beach, California, where there is.

 

JetBlue Airways has been a major carrier at Long Beach Airport for two decades. Particularly in the first decade of this century, it was very successful with its flights growing. For many, it was more convenient than crowded Los Angeles Airport to the north and JetBlue, being a budget carrier, offered lower fares. After the recession of 2008, competition among L.A. Airport carriers drove the cost of those flights down, diminishing Long Beach's advantages. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, JetBlue had greatly reduced its number of flights from Long Beach. Now, with traffic further reduced, the airline has determined it is no longer profitable to continue. JetBlue flights from Long Beach will end as of October 6, all but one route transferred to L.A.

 

What does this have to do with Long Beach's libraries? Jet airplanes are not quiet machines. If you've ever been close to one with its engines running, you will notice that the sound is deafening. There isn't a whole lot that can be done to make a jet quiet. In 1990, Congress passed a law that prohibits cities from enforcing local noise ordinances around airports, but Long Beach was able to secure an exemption. They enforce their restrictions with fines, and air carriers have reached agreements on the size of the fine, which is between $3,000 and $6,000 per violation. The biggest violator, not surprising because it was the airport's biggest carrier, is JetBlue. The city maintained that the fines were meant as a deterrent, not a source of income, but the number of fines levied over many years argues that the reality became otherwise. For JetBlue, it was a cost of doing business, but perhaps a cost that became more meaningful as profits shrank. We don't know if it played a role in JetBlue's decision to cease operations but it didn't help.

 

Since 2003, Long Beach has collected many millions of dollars in fines from JetBlue. In 2018, it collected over $1 million. In 2019, with flights decreasing, it was $532,000. When Long Beach reached the agreement with JetBlue that allowed the city to levy these substantial fines, the city promised one more thing. The money would not go into the its general fund, leading to a potential dependence on these fines by the city government. Instead, they agreed that all fines collected would go to the the Long Beach Public Library Foundation.

 

The Long Beach Public Library Foundation was created specifically to provide aid for certain needs of the city's public library system. At the top of that list has been buying books for the library. They also provide various learning programs and other services for library patrons. While what is collected from the fines may seem small compared to the libraries' annual budget of around $15 million, it is a major part of the funding for new and replacement books and the other services the foundation funds. Now, all of that is gone, and meanwhile, the city is looking to reduce its funding of the library system. Lots of travelers will miss JetBlue's presence in the city, but perhaps none more than Long Beach's public libraries.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Bonhams, July 15-25: THE AUTOGRAPH COLLECTION OF ISRAEL WITKOWER. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: GEORGE WASHINGTON SIGNED DISCHARGE. June 9, 1783. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: "Shhhhh!" A DAVID SHANNON ILLUSTRATION FROM DAVID GETS IN TROUBLE. $2,500 - $3,500
    Bonhams, July 15-25: PICASSO, PABLO. Le Carmen des Carmen. Paris, 1964. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: RARE AUTOGRAPH OF AMERICAN NAVAL HERO CAPTAIN JAMES MUGFORD. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: KARA WALKER SILHOUETTES FOR TONI MORRISON'S FIVE POEMS. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: FIRST APPEARANCE OF PINOCCHIO IN ENGLISH. COLLODI, CARLO.New York, 1892. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: BONAPARTE, JOSEPHINE. Autograph Note (unsigned) in French. $1,000 - $1,500
    Bonhams, July 15-25: FROST ON MATTHEW ARNOLD.Autograph Letter Signed to Adams, July 27, 1934. $800 - $1,200
    Bonhams, July 15-25: ELIAS BOUDINOT'S COPY OF BARLOW'S COLUMBIAN EPIC. $800 - $1,200
    Bonhams, July 15-25: A SIGNED HART CRANE BROOKLYN BRIDGE POSTCARD TO EDWARD DAHLBERG. $600 - $800
    Bonhams, July 15-25: A STOCK CERTIFICATE SIGNED BY THE "QUEEN OF WALL STREET," HETTY GREEN. $700 - $900
  • Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    18th July 2024
    Forum, July 18: Rowling (J.K.) Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, first hardback edition, 1997. £40,000 to £60,000.
    Forum, July 18: Binding.- Lucian of Samosata Opuscula Erasmo Roterodamo interprete, first Aldine edition, Venice, Heirs of Aldus Manutius and A, 1516. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, July 18: Bacon (Sir Francis). De Dignitate et Augmentis Scientiarum Libri IX, Pierre Gassendi's copy gifted him by Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc, Paris, Typis Petri Mettayer, 1624. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    18th July 2024
    Forum, July 18: Shakespeare (William). The First Part of Henry the Fourth, with the Life and Death of Henry, Sirnamed Hot-Spurre…, Printed by Isaac Jaggard, and Ed. Blount, 1623. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, July 18: Darwin (Charles). On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, third edition, presentation inscription 'From the Author' in a secretary's hand, John Murray, 1861. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, July 18: Teague (Violet). Geraldine Rede. Night Fall in the Ti-Tree, first edition, Melbourne, Sign of the Rabbit, 1905; and another. £10,000 to £15,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    18th July 2024
    Forum, July 18: India.- Primrose (Gen. James Maurice). Collection of 24 original drawings from his time in India with the 43rd Regiment of Foot, circa 1855 to 1864. £10,000 to £15,000.
    Forum, July 18: Manet (Édouard). Trente Eaux-fortes originales, the complete portfolio, Paris, A. Stroelin, 1905. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, July 18: Bible, English. [The Holy Bible], first edition of the King James Bible, the Great 'He' Bible, [Robert Barker], [1611]. £6,000 to £8,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    18th July 2024
    Forum, July 18: America.- Mathews (Alfred E.) Pencil Sketches of Montana, first edition, New York, Published by the Author, 1868. £6,000 to £8,000.
    Forum, July 18: Bawden (Edward). Original dust-jacket artwork for 'The Outsider' by Albert Camus, [c.1946]. £4,000 to £6,000.
    Forum, July 18: World.- Fries (Laurent). Tabula Nova Totius Orbis, woodcut map, [c.1541]. £3,000 to £5,000.
  • Sotheby’s, July 11: Galileo, Document annotated and signed by Galileo, dated Padua, 1595. £500,000 to £700,000.

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