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Letters to the Editor

Community speaks out in force against library changes

–I wanted to send a note voicing my opinion as a lifelong resident in Laguna that we keep the library in its current location and oppose any plans to move it. I grew up in town and the library was a special staple for me as a community member located in the heart of our town. It is now a place where I take my kids as well, passing on its wonderful charm and benefits for my children.   

BJ Jameson

Laguna Beach

–While I am not entirely clear about the lease and purchase details about the library, I am writing in support of keeping the library in the current location forever. The convenience and walkability of the library means that is it a part of our weekly routine, every single week. If the location were to move out of the village, it would negatively impact the access my children and all children have to this critical resource. Please ensure that this location remains a library for years and decades to come. 

Jessica Keehn

Laguna Beach

–Over the course of my lifetime, the library has served as a place of exploration, education, community bonding, relaxation, and adventure. Beginning in my youth, I would go to the library with my mother and grandmother to read and check out books. We also walked in the Patriot’s Day Parade dressed up as books with my brother and “Friends of the Library.” I remember the sense of pride I felt filling out the paperwork and receiving my own library card in downtown Laguna Beach, my hometown.

In high school, the library served as a wonderful place where I could meet with and tutor fellow students, easily accessible to all in the center of town.

Nowadays, with my own two children, 4 1/2 years old and almost 2 years old, I have taken trips to visit the library for story time before the pandemic and then walked to Main Beach to play at the playground or downtown for some shopping and a snack or lunch. 

Most recently, we took a trip to the fairy garden outside the library and checked out many books on other occasions, knowing that we could easily return them on one of our trips downtown.

Alexandra Harman

Laguna Beach

–My wife and two young children selected Laguna Beach as home from literally anywhere else in the U.S. In addition to the great school district, the centrally located educational opportunities and quaint charm of the village were some of the top criteria we used in selecting here. Moving the library for a parking lot would be a major step towards losing that charm. I am writing to vehemently oppose any change from the status quo as it relates to the library location.

Jeremiah Keehn

Laguna Beach

–Over the weekend I began reading the book The Library Book by Susan Orlean, about the fire at the Los Angeles downtown library in 1986. It is MUCH more than a book about a fire. I am only about 50 pages into it and I cannot put it down. 

I praise the book Dave Eggers writes, “…and the central role libraries have always and will always play in the life and health of a bustling democracy.” 

To quote the book from page 37, to save the books that survived the fire, thousands of volunteers, everyday people like you and me, formed a human chain “passing the books hand over hand from one person to the next, through the smoky building and out the door. It was as if, in this urgent moment, the people of Los Angeles formed a living library. They created, for that short time, a system to protect and pass along shared knowledge, to save what we know for each other, which is what libraries do every day.” 

THIS is what libraries mean to communities. A healthy democracy, shared knowledge passed from one to another. A city without a library is a dead city.

Jane Leary

Laguna Beach

–As a local who uses it regularly, and an author who knows the value of books to society, I am asking you to reconsider and stop any lease agreement, fine print or other options for appeasement of developers or parking spaces etc. 

I mean, the whole city is commercial – can’t we have one place that actually serves the locals without trying to get money from them? Libraries are also very important to mothers/fathers and children. We don’t have much for kids in this city – please, just leave this for the community and don’t take it away – in the fine print or otherwise. 

Christina Adams 

Laguna Beach

–I am shocked and cannot believe that you want to tear down our library, put it into the canyon as suggested by Peter Blake, perhaps near the homeless shelter or dog park where our children are not safe. It is totally inconvenient and dangerous to make the U-turns or left hand turns to get back to town. 

I am tired of the city using residents’ money to increase the income of the “merchants,” and more important, developers who use their PACs to provide money to the city councilmen who will increase their income in exchange for funds for their election. I believe there’s a name for that but I don’t want to get sued. I have never been involved in city politics over the 20 years I have lived here, but I am now.

William Birnbaum

Laguna Beach

–The library must stay put at this specific location. It’s been there over 100 years. Do not underestimate how passionate we are about this. We love the convenience and utility for our families. Locals will not warmly accept any new use of this land and everyone involved will be under a microscope of scrutiny. 

Kris Shams

Laguna Beach

–As Orange County residents and Laguna Beach homeowners, access to the library in its current location is important to us. It’s been enjoyed by our family since 1961. Its central location is convenient and accessible, and the building, grounds, staff, programs and events are loved by people of all ages.

Trish Sweeney

Laguna Beach

–I’ve lived in Laguna for 32 years. I grew up going to the Laguna Beach public library and I now frequent the library and fairy garden weekly with my 3-year-old daughter. I vehemently oppose relocating the library. 

Truthfully, I’m heartbroken that our town has come to this – all in hopes of building a parking lot for tourists. It often feels like the local residents are overlooked for the sake of tourism. That’s not the Laguna Beach I grew up in. 

Lauren (Elliott) Unterberger

Laguna Beach

–I am writing in as a woman who lives here with her 3-year-old son and husband and grew up here graduating from LBHS as an artist. I went to Laguna library as a kid – I walked from my home. I now live in that home and my son and I visit the library weekly after MOPS. Then we can even go to the Main Beach playground. It’s been there since 1921. It should stay that way for at least another 100 years – how about forever? The library is where our youth and community THRIVE and grow. Not to mention an amazing spot for visiting families to stumble upon.

Lili, Luka and Michael Mannarino

Laguna Beach

–We are residents of Laguna Beach with a kindergartner and we LOVE the library, the fairy garden, and the feeling the two give to our beautiful town. Please protect it as it is, for generations to come to be able to enjoy.

Reagan Jones

Laguna Beach

–I support the Laguna Beach branch of the Orange County library system remaining a public library in its present location. I think its central location affirms its importance to the community and is key to its convenient use by residents and its importance to the nature and aesthetics of the downtown.

Becky Jones

Laguna Beach

–I would like to share that the library is one of the most important resources in town for our young children, especially those that are younger than school age (0-5) and parents. Our library programs are really top notch, art, story time, etc., as is the precious fairy garden on the grounds of the library that attracts butterflies. The amazing woman who keeps the garden also hand writes notes back to the kids from the fairies. Truly incredible! 

So many wonderful memories made and to be made from a trip to the library after the farmers market for craft time and reading, or a fun play day out with friends going to the library and then the playground at Main Beach or the Main Beach toy store.

Lisa, John and Layla Roberson-Beery

Laguna Beach

–Both my husband and I volunteered at the BOOK Store to help our library. It was a joy and privilege to work there. 

Books bring so much joy and they open up a new world to our children.

It would certainly be a black mark on our city not to keep our library. 

Dr. & Mrs. S. Leemon

Laguna Beach

–You will set a terrible precedent by tearing down a library. Those safe places are needed for education, not parking lots. 

Daniel Marrs

Laguna Beach

–I’m Maya Tengove, a student at Laguna Beach High School, and I am emailing you regarding the possible closure of the Laguna Beach library. This is a bad decision that will negatively affect everybody in the community. Many, if not all students use the library to check out books or study after school. It is a safe, welcoming, and necessary space for everyone. 

I have many great memories of the library. When I was a little kid, I loved the story times and looking around the fairy garden. The library’s summer reading program is also a big reason why I love reading to this day. It would be a shame if the future generation could not enjoy the same. Please reconsider this decision. Laguna Beach’s library is a perfect location and is vital to the community.

Maya Tengove

Laguna Beach

–The library is a community asset for Laguna Beach youth and adults. It’s close to two out of three Laguna Beach schools. It’s walkable for students, teachers and residents to reach it, in addition to being a short drive for others. It’s affordable for residents to use and borrow materials.

Elaine Beno

Laguna Beach

–Please pay attention to the needs and wishes of the families in Laguna Beach, who clearly oppose tampering with the current wonderful library that we have in Laguna Beach. Its current location is central to our town and is much more convenient than tearing it down and moving it somewhere else. 

A parking structure would serve primarily tourists and the businesses who serve them. Laguna families and residents want services, like the library, markets, drugstores, the Susi Q, etc. We do not need more T-shirt shops, restaurants, multi-level business-complexes, and other facilities that serve out-of-towners and the interests of tourist-serving businesses, many owned by people outside of Laguna.

You were elected to serve the people of Laguna Beach. Please listen to us. Increasingly, some of you have stopped doing that. Elections are coming. We will be watching closely.

Roger Owens 

Laguna Beach

–The Laguna Beach Library should remain a LIBRARY and be used by the local community as a library. We don’t need another parking lot, commercial building, etc. We should aim to remain the small, beachside city that is enjoyed by all residents. 

Paige Lyall

Laguna Beach

–I am opposed to the purchase of the Laguna Beach library and site, unless it is conditioned upon it remaining to be the permanent home of the Laguna library. 

Ellen Rittenhouse

Laguna Beach

Don’t agree that the library, as it sits, is the answer

I find it disingenuous how George Weiss spins his newsletters. Where are the dissenting letters? I was one of them. It is passé to have a library as we knew them. Has there been a polling to ask who visits? How many from all of our residents actually go? You can download books nowadays. My daughter when in high school at LBHS was afraid and put off with the library as homeless people where inhabiting it and preferred driving to the Newport Beach one that had some parameters of control and safety. The purchase of the property from the city however was a good idea. 

It’s time to rethink the library as it has outlived its usefulness. 

As far as George Weiss, his continued support or control to keep things as they were is not feasible and not working. 

With that and Laguna Residents First, to control and put to vote each and every commercial buildout which he is now putting upon us voters to do the work for him. Why do we need city council if we have to do the work? Isn’t this their job? Get rid of city council if they are ineffective, or this measure. 

India Hynes

Laguna Beach


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