Palisades Library Issues Need to be Addressed

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This is one of the homeless women that now claims the Palisades Library is her home. The Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness has tried to help her.

(Editor’s note: CTN has now received two letters (below) about problems at the local library. This editor, who used to be an avid user of the branch library, now goes to Collections Antiques and Books on Antioch, run by Jeff Ridgway. If he doesn’t have a book, he will order it. This editor stopped by the library today and the head librarian acknowledged they need the community’s help. They are short-staffed and just trying to stay open.)

LETTER: Nightmare at the Library

I have recently been screamed at by the blonde homeless woman residing with Ruby at the library portico when I had the audacity to walk up to the doors to check library hours after she and Ruby had moved back in for the night.

She screamed at my dog and me to “get out of her home” and said we “have no right to invade her home.” When I said that it was actually public property, she ran at us and screamed, “It’s not after closing time! It’s mine.”

Another day when I tried to go to the library during open hours Ruby stood menacingly in the driveway until I walked away.

I went back when she took a break and went into the library to ask what the “rules” are for dealing with the homeless residents there. The library employee I asked insisted she didn’t know what I was talking about and suggested I return to speak with the librarian (Mary?) in two days when she would be there. I have been unable to speak to Mary.

I did email the PPTFH to ask how to handle these situations and received no reply. I am afraid to go to the library and have not been able to take my granddaughter there since it reopened, for fear of such a terrifying encounter with her.

I love the library so much and have contributed to its maintenance for many years, have spent many happy times there.  This situation and others like it make me want to leave the Palisades. I do not feel safe here anymore.

“Ruby” has lived at the library for several years, even though she had been housed at an apartment in Santa Monica.

LETTER: Library Is a Sketchy Place

I went to drop off some movies at the library and Ruby was holding court as well as an older woman with white hair who had her stuff spread out all over the exterior corridor.

There was someone else in the bushes in front that seemed to be changing clothes or storing their belongings. There was a shopping cart randomly in front of the walkway. Could the library be any more uninviting?

I walked into it and the lady behind the Lucite screen was deep into reading her book and then very focused on me putting on a mask.

The library is a dead place and becoming a gathering place for the destitute. It’s sketchy and gives off a vibe of avoidance rather than take the chance of walking by Ruby smoking, or trash all over the corridor. One must walk on the parking lot to avoid it – not the entry walkway.

There is zero interaction between the library staff and the transients directly outside. Why is the library staff not taking some sort of action outside their entry? It feels hopeless.

The Library and Friends of the Library can announce all the fun programs you want, but when the entry is surrounded by unkempt persons and a corridor filled with their belongings and old boxes of books (why are those books even there? Is no one in charge of picking them up and either tossing or storing or donating them?) how can you expect families to be excited to participate?

The library board should either take action or announce they are refusing to get involved in any beautification effort and call it a day – just acknowledge they are content with the situation as is.

Or maybe it’s time to hire a library employee who is tasked with building a treasured resource for our community to enjoy.

At least three shopping carts filled with items have been tucked away by the library patio.

This entry was posted in Community, Homelessness, Kids/Parenting. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Palisades Library Issues Need to be Addressed

  1. Nancy Klopper says:

    The rules about who may or may not sleep/camp/live at libraries are decided by our local council people. In this case, it is Councilman Mike Bonin who is in charge of CD11. You can write to him with your issues at mike.bonin@lacity.org or his deputy Noah.Fleishman@lacity.org Also, every time a citizen complains to Mary Hofp (who is head librarian), she makes individuals living there aware of such. Please continue to share your issues with her. The current laws are the homeless cannot sleep on sidewalks within 500 feet of a school, or religious institutions. Corpus Christi the school and church are directly across the street, but obviously people are not sleeping within 500 feet. These problems can only be solved by your votes. My personal recommendation is to vote for TRACI PARK (CD11) in the next election. You may also share your concerns with SLO Sargent Brian Espin 213-810-0142.

  2. Kathleen Jensen says:

    Many comments about this have been posted on Nextdoor. My suggestion to anyone looking for a nice library near Palisades is to drive up Topanga Canyon to the L.A. County Library Topanga Branch. It is clean, has covered parking and a nice outdoor patio area overlooking the treetops. The library is on the 2nd floor of the building, accessible by either stairs or the elevator. It doesn’t appear anyone is camping outside.

  3. Jay Wilson says:

    I took my two young kids there for the first time this weekend and was horrified. We couldn’t even use the restroom as there was an unhoused man bathing himself in one who blocked us from entering and yelled at us. My kids were frightened and the cleaning woman just rolled her eyes like that had clearly happened before…why can’t they get it together to make this the wonderful gathering place it could be?! Don’t think we’ll be back anytime soon

  4. Murray Levy says:

    I have been a long time user and supporter of our local library and it really saddens me when I go there now and see the place almost empty. The unhoused population of California represents less than one half of one percent of the State’s population but the damage that small group of individuals does to the rest of us is enormous, as evidenced by the situation at our library. What’s needed is tough love, not offers of service. I too urge everyone in the coming election to vote for a council person, mayor, supervisor with the guts to really address this problem and solve it.

  5. allison says:

    I’m pretty sure the blondish woman who yelled at you is the same woman I saw sitting on the library bench last week. I noticed this woman’s hair, her black strapped shoes, and her posture style and thought she looked very much like the one in the photo who had allegedly “taken” a piece of jewelry from a local business ( I read about it on ND). That case is closed, I found out when I called, as the piece was returned.

  6. Mary Petersen says:

    I hardly knew Mitzi Blahd but know she worked tirelessly to bring about reconstruction of the library as it is today (without the uninvited “guests”). She must be rolling over in her grave!

  7. CC Fischer says:

    Mary Hopf is the finest librarian a town could possibly have. She has gracefully dealt with an insurmountable problem foisted upon herself and the other fine librarians of the Palisades by self reverential ideologues like Bonin who ignore the realities of confronting homelessness in our communities. Posturing politicians have allowed our libraries, traditionally thought of as the People’s University and a safe space, to become day rooms for the mentally ill and ex-cons. Don’t blame the librarians. Don’t blame the mentally ill without humane asylums. Don’t blame the drug addicts and houseless people who are being preyed upon by the revolving doors of the unsuccessful city government backed recovery and homeless industries. Blame Mike Bonin and his blithering do nothing ilk. And blame ourselves for voting for them in the first place.

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