The West Hollywood City Council last night declined to endorse a proposal by Councilmember John Heilman that it appropriate $125,000 to relaunch the book fair, which it decided in February to put on hiatus, citing the rising cost of the event and its declining attendance.
A report by city staffers said attendance at last year’s fair fell by a third while city spending on the event grew by 38 percent to $150,000. While the book fair, which was launched in 2002, once attracted an estimated 15,000 people, attendance has fallen in recent years to 7,500, and last year it attracted only 5,000 people, the staff report said.
The Council did authorize spending up to $30,000, some of which will be used to begin working on a stronger book fair for 2015.
For the last three years, the city has contracted with the Authentic Agency, a West Hollywood-based event producer owned by Liam Lynch, to produce the book fair. John Heilman, a creator of the book fair, criticized Authentic at the February Council meeting for what he said was its poor management and promotion of the event.
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