Concern over new sleeping policy at Pacific Beach library

Posted at 6:35 PM, Aug 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-24 21:35:20-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Some Pacific Beach families say they no longer feel comfortable at their public library because of the homeless population.

"It's no longer a library it's a homeless shelter, and that's the word that's spreading."

Racheal Allen spends hours each day crusading for public safety in PB. The Neighborhood Watch Block Captain is tired of seeing the same problems on repeat at the library. 

"Cleanliness an issue, hygiene, I would not let my kid run around barefoot here," Allen said.

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Most recently she saw the swing sets being used as a clothesline. 

"I've seen a lot, but when I saw that it was a slap in the face," Allen added.

And another slap in the face she says, a new library policy enacted last year. Under the old code of conduct, people sleeping in libraries were woken up and asked to leave.

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“It’s very broad and applies to everyone," Library Director Misty Jones said. "If I was to enforce I'm going to suspend a toddler who falls asleep or I’m going to going to suspend an 80-year-old man who nods off reading the newspaper.”

Jones says now, staff will wake a person up but they won't be kicked out if they're not disrupting others. 

"It was punitive and unfair and targeting a specific population," Jones said.

Jones says one reason the policy changed was after a librarian found a teenager sleeping. Rather than kick her out, she had a conversation with the teenager. 

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"She found out the girl was a victim of sex trafficking, she was able to call police, get social workers here and get her reunited with her family," Jones said.

But Allen says she's seen illegal activity outside the library and worries relaxing this rule will only lead to more problems.

"I want the library to consistently enforce their rules, I want guards to consistently patrol, it seems they are only on top of it when the community pushes them to be on top of it," Allen said.

And that, she says, is no solution at all.