(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.
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.