One of the reasons my family purchased our condo was because of its close proximity to the Ocean Park Branch Library. Unfortunately, the Ocean Park Branch is currently closed. It’s a shame that such a beautiful space is going unused.  It’s a shame that our children can no longer walk down the street to go on a “reading adventure” as we call it. It’s a shame that many of our amazing librarians are unable to serve their community.  It’s a shame that I have to explain to my children that we can’t walk to the library anymore because lack of funds, COVID, and because the City’s budget does not align with the community’s desires.

The City’s proposed budget contemplates turning our Ocean Park Branch into something akin to an automated bank teller. Patrons will need a keycard to enter into the facility and will need to check in and out books on their own. While this is better than nothing, libraries are not just a place to check out books. They are a place to explore, learn, and relax. And in Santa Monica, our libraries are a place to build community.  They are a place to teach our children about the importance of literacy, imagination, and exploration. We will truly miss the read-alongs, pajama nights, arts and crafts sessions, and lazy days strolling through the aisles with our preschoolers.  

Please re-fund the Santa Monica Public Library system, re-staff our libraries, and re-open the closed branches so that all children can benefit from the amazing library system that is waiting for our community to open its doors back up (without a keycard).

Anita Janapati, Santa Monica resident and parent. or @SaveSMLibrary1