Cops Drop The Hammer On Makeshift People's Library In Oakland
via Mercury News:
Activists recently took an abandoned building in Oakland's San Antonio neighborhood and transformed it into the Victor Martinez People's Library, in honor of the late Latino author. They cleared the graffiti and mattresses out of the building and offered books for rent on the sidewalk outside.
So of course the cops came in and shut them down. No arrests or injuries, but I guess it's better that the building continue to sit vacant, ignored, and maybe even end up host to illegal activity?
More, from Mercury News:
The building had been a city library until 1979, [Officer Johnna Watson, a police department spokeswoman] said. After the library closed, the building housed a continuation school and then a social services center. It was closed in 2010, Watson said. It is owned by the City of Oakland's Redevelopment Successor Agency within the Office of Neighborhood Investment.
The building once was an ornate space with built-in wooden bookshelves and high ceilings decorated with molding. Completed in 1918, it was one of four branches funded with a Carnegie grant. But Jaime Silva, one of the activist organizers, said the property had gone mostly unused since the library closure, attracting squatters and illegal dumping. For years, he said, it's been "a dark place that sucks the life out of the community."
Oakland City Councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente said the building was damaged in a 1989 earthquake and requires costly retrofitting, but activists say that residents should at least be permitted to turn the grounds into a community garden, to get some use out of it.
You can see photos of the library at this link.
What do you think? Now, granted, these people didn't own the property, but it's not like they were turning it into a crack den...
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