With its multi- media computer workstations and spacious community meeting room, the library truly is a resource for quality learning and cultural events. Unfortunately, for the past few years, the library has been challenged by thefts, vandalism and disorderly conduct from juveniles. The Friends of the Washington Irving Library and Public Safety Committee for the lOth District have responded by coming together to form a committee to address these serious problems. The senior librarian expressed her concerns at community meetings and asked the Office of Public Safety, School Police and LAPD to intervene and control the situation. Our group felt it was critical to provide a safe environment for patrons and employees of the library.
On April 12th, 2007, our committee concluded that with security cameras, the library would have an important tool for
deterring criminal activity. We went into action and began to research various security surveillance systems, look for available funding and determine the City’s protocol for the procurement and installation of security cameras. After many meetings with the Senior Librarian, City library administrators and telephone conversations with the Office of Public Safety, we were told that the solution would be a temporary increase of public safety officers stationed at the library. Although they had no plans nor a budget to install security cameras, they said they would be willing to accept a donation or review a security system proposal from the community. Our committee was not satisfied with this vague response and proceeded with our own plan to obtain funding for the procurement and installation of a security system for both the LAPD Stop-In Center located at 4012 Washington Blvd. and the Washington Irving Library.
On September 6th, 2007, our committee, with letters of support from LAPD Wilshire Division and the community, presented a funding request proposal to the lOth District’s United Neighborhoods Neighborhood Council (UNNC) for $4600.00 for both cameras. We installed the first cameras at the Stop-In Center to not only deter criminal activity at that location but to study the quality and reliability of the system and make modifications, if necessary, for the library system. The council unanimously voted to approve the funding for both security systems and on October 24th, 2007, the installation of a four camera system was completed at the Stop-In Center and is currently working flawlessly 24/7.
However, although we have the money and we have the proposal for the library security system, we have been unable to move forward with our effort to help the library.
The committee made several unsuccessful attempts to contact the library administration to present our proposed gift.
Finally, on December 14th, 2007, with growing concerns from parents in the community, a meeting titled “Better Security At Our Public Library” was held at the Johnny Cochran Middle School where I had an opportunity to present our proposal directly to the Director of Library Branches Ms. Cecilia Riddle. Ms. Riddle responded by sending me an e-mail saying that she and her staff would review our proposal and get back to me as soon as possible. As of today, I have not received a direct response from her or the library administration.
Undaunted, the committee continued to research, refine and update the proposal and push to have a formal meeting. On June 13th, 2008 a meeting was held with Office of Public Safety personnel to discuss the feasibility of our proposal with the option of using the system on a temporary basis until the City could come up with the financing for their more expensive “dream system”. It is now January, 2009 and we have yet to receive a response or recommendation to our proposal.
Why, in a time when the City is facing economic uncertainties and limited resources, won’t the City Government show the courtesy of responding to proactive community members who are willing to step-up and provide not only the time and resources but the financial wherewithal to help maintain public safety at the Washington Irving Library? Why are they ignoring this very serious issue? It just doesn’t make sense.
Want to send emails of support for our project? Send them to…..
Director of Branch Library Services Ms. Cecilia Riddle
Office of Public Safety Technology/ Administration Mr. Frank Pazasis