We miss you. We need you. The second oldest branch of the Santa Monica Library, you have consistently welcomed the most visitors.  Four generations of my family have treasured you in our lives.

How sad it is now to walk by and see you there, empty and neglected. Even your plants look sad, many torn out for minimal maintenance of the plot.

You were closed, they say, because of the pandemic, for more than two years you have stood lifeless.

• No story time on the carpet to enchant toddlers with the magic to be theirs from

books.

• No school kids doing their homework and researching term paper topics.

• Nobody browsing the aisles for a favorite author or a new one.

• No community meetings or lectures.

• No seniors resting with a magazine on a break from a neighborhood walk.

• No holiday displays.

• No answers for inquiring minds.

All the other branches are restoring services and partially reopening. You alone are not even mentioned. Last week the Montana Branch opening was celebrated for its “neighborhood-y” feel. Big whoopee for Montana, big ouch for you. Don’t cry poor Fairview. You’re the center of our neighborhood and we’re sad too.

A few years ago the city invested nearly a million dollars in remodeling you – replacing windows, carpets and furniture, upgrading infrastructure and improving space functioning. Oh how hard it was to have you closed then for a year. It’s all the more bewildering now to understand how the City can leave that great investment fallow.

But now, dear Fairview, your doors have been closed for more than two years.

When pressed about the return of services at Fairview, the City conveniently hides your neglect behind the lack of “budget”. And yet, it continuously chooses what is, and what is not, in the magic budget. What kind of value system puts weekly street sweeping before a library? Why have you been singled out for some vague future funding?

We miss you Fairview. We love you. We need you. Stay strong, the neighborhood is eager to welcome you back.

And you there, looking over my shoulder – if you can read this letter, thank a library for contributing to your literacy. And let the Library Administration and the City Council know. Send a copy of this letter with your name and your comments or memories to the people listed below.  I thank you. The neighborhood thanks you.

Erica Cuyugan, Interim City Librarian, Erica.cuyugan@santamonica.gov

Santa Monica City Council, councilmtgitems@santamonica.gov

Geraldine Kennedy, Santa Monica