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Down and out, but online at the library

Down and out, but online at the library
People wait in line for 15 minutes for a computer at the Central Library. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

Murray Carter, 56, is living a life without luxury. He's out of work. He sleeps at the Weingart Center on skid row.

He's hoping for a job as a cook. He needs to go online to find one. But he's worlds away from affording either a computer or Internet access.

Well before the Central Library opens at 10 a.m., Carter waits out front to get in and grab a computer terminal.

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Toni Albert, 23, of East L.A. takes night nursing classes at community college. Her mom helps by looking after her baby. But Albert also needs a computer and one's out of reach for now. So she waits, too, holding 7-month-old Zariyah to her chest.

A few years ago, L.A.'s libraries cut their hours — hit, like everywhere else, by budget cuts.

To those clinging to the 73 branches as lifelines and safe houses, the cuts were crushing blows.

Email ideas for City Beat, and follow Nita Lelyveld @latimescitybeat on Twitter or at Los Angeles Times City Beat on Facebook.
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