Echo Park library struggles to clean up

Edendale branch library./LAPL

It’s hard enough to keep a library quiet but the staff  and supporters of the Edendale library in Echo Park have also waged an uphill battle to keep the place clean.  Tight budgets leave the library with little money to maintain the grounds surrounding the Sunset Boulevard building, which has attracted a large number of homeless people, some of whom sleep overnight behind locked gates.  The Echo Park neighborhood council had agreed to pay for additional maintenance workers at the Edendale library and the Echo Park branch on Temple Street but its funds have been frozen by the city since last fall.  Earlier this year, the Edendale Library Friends Society agreed to help pay for a part-time maintenance worker but that means it can’t spend money on books and other library supplies.

In an email to Council District 13, Suzanne Rogers, who manages the library group’s Wednesday book sales, sums up the situation;

Here is our problem.  We simply do not have the funds to cover the huge outdoor maintenance issues we have here at Edendale.  Due to our very public and accessible location, at Sunset Blvd. and Alvarado, we enjoy one of the highest ‘use by patron/community’ ratio of any branch Library in C/D 13.  But what is our blessing is also our curse!  At night we have on-going homeless encampments on our grounds and along both front and back handicapped ramps.  Our utility sheds (which we use for book storage) have been broken into so that they can store their bed rolls, clothes and misc. stuff.

In March, the group could only afford to pay one worker to come in two days a month to clean up the outdoor areas, said Rogers. “Last week he struggled to just get the Sunset Blvd. entrance cleaned up, let alone doing anything on the parking lot side.”

Ari Bessendorf, President of the Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council, said the council has submitted paperwork to get the city to release neighborhood council funds, which were frozen after it failed provide the necessary documents to show how funds were approved and spent.. But so far the neighborhood council has  “not yet heard whether or when our funds will be unfrozen,”   Bessendorf said.

The neighborhood council has also approached Councilman Eric Garcetti’s office about spending some neighborhood council funds that were transferred to a trust fund controlled by his council district. “No official word on when that money is coming out,” he said.

Meanwhile,  visitors to the Edendale library must contend with grimy and smelly conditions. Said Rogers:

If our neighborhood Public Libraries are not a major “Community Beautification Project” and if our [neighborhood council] and our District 13 Representatives can’t help to keep our Libraries looking like the cared for, enjoyed and appreciated institutions the voters in their communities expect, and pay for, than they have failed in a big way!


  1. I use this library on a regular weekly basis and I’ll be honest, I don’t see any issues. Maybe I’m blind to it but I think you guys are already doing a pretty good job. I’ve never thought it looked unkept or anything.

    The only thing I would suggest is to attempt to curb the hang out sessions in the back by the local homeless. I personally don’t mind it. But I’ve seen other folks just pick up and leave when they see it. I imagine it could be intimidating for people. I don’t know how you kick people out of a public space but it can get pretty heavy back there.

    • I agree with you hb, i too frequent the library a couple of times a month. I also think that it is well kept. The homeless in the back are a little intimidating but i could deal with it. What they should focus on is those people using the parking lot to park their vehicles, and they go to the cafe around the corner.

  2. your conscience @ ep

    This is the reason people are referring to this as the eastside, it is to disassociate themselves’ from another class of people. I’ve been call ignorant on this website, but one thing I do know is the geography of our ( City of Angels’!)… If we look at the street signs, below is a block number that reads w, and then the hundred block. The w is for west, that is if the street runs east and west…Main st is the divider of east and west! I guess when vagrants and hobos’ start hanging out west of the 405, then some will refer to it as the eastside… West Lake, is called West Lake for a reason!
    Mc Arthur Park, was considered the west side when business executive use to take lunch there years ago! There is nothing East Side about Echo Park and Silverlake. Just because there is some Taco Trucks and some homeless, dosent make this the Eastside…

    • The term is not “east” it is “east-side”
      The term is not geographical, it is vernacular.

      The same way that “Silver Lake” is not a lake with silver in it. It is a place on the “east-side”.

      Those of you who think we are trying to “steal” some kind of “cred” from the “hood” of EAST LA? No, you can have that “cred”. We are the “east-side” you are EAST LA. We are happy with this arrangement.

      …by the way “your conscience” you are ignorant because you try to make every f-cking issue about race and prejudice. The “man” isn’t keeping you down!

    • …I like the way you turned a post that had nothing to do with the subject into good old fashioned “eastside” debate. NICE! Its been a while!

      Don’t the “Eastsider” Nazi’s find it a contradiction to be frequenting a blog called the Eastsider that covers SL, EP etc.?

  3. Thats funny, I agree with you this time…

    • is this snotty james the one that knows how to spell, or is it the person making fun of the james who was quite snotty in asserting that always spells correctly, unlike all of the other ‘James’? 🙂

  4. I doubt that even after the rehab is done, if you shout across the lake, you still won’t hear an echo. Guess we’d better rename that too. Arf.

  5. i actually called the cops a few weeks ago as I was there with my kids and there were some people shooting drugs in that handicap ramp in the back parking lot. tried to let them know that it wasn’t cool to get high there, but they just pretended like they were folding clothes and ignored me.

  6. Someone ought to let the homeless folks know that they’re on the city’s radar, and if they don’t begin to clean up after themselves there’s going to be a crackdown and they’ll be rousted from the area. I’m sick of people who don’t clean up after themselves. I’ve taught high school for nine years, and so many students leave chips, plastic soda bottles, or pencil shavings around their seats — despite my eagle eyes — that sometimes I feel it’s a losing battle. I’ve had students tell me, “That’s the janitor’s job,” or more often they deny that they littered around their seats. It wears on me after a while. Maybe the community can donate a few brooms and garbage bins to the library and leave the equipment in a spot accessible to the homeless or other folks who are willing to spend five or ten minutes cleaning up a bit.

  7. your conscience @ ep

    Bang your head, like Grateful Dead! Oh, I meant Quiet Riot…

  8. your conscience @ ep

    BEANTEAM, needs to charge her name or she needs a serious attitude adjustment…Is this name like a racial name trying to insult people who may eat beans, or is it for beans like in hacky sack? I think beanteam is white, am I right beanteam?…I may not be as educated as you, but my IQ is probably higher than yours! Just imagine if I received the education you have, I’d blow you out…

    • LOW, low IQ, rest assured.

    • @conscience : there’s no age limit on getting an education. Get with it and go blow some people out. Put your effort where your mouth is.

    • There you go again with the racial assumptions.

      If you MUST know, “your conscience” my last name is a homonym of “bean”. Thus my family is the “bean team”.

      You should really try to stop yourself from assuming that everything is racial. It would help in many aspects of your life…

  9. @james. Good luck with the litter thing. I’ve come to realize that there are some sub-cultures here in LA that just don’t care if they live in filth, and don’t see anything wrong with adding to it.
    I used to get all bunged up about it, but now I just make a comment about how they need to pick their crap up, and ask them why they thinks its ok. The question usually stumps the low-brows.

  10. How many times do we have to go through this? East is east of the LA River. Not La Brea, not Western, not the 101. And that poor library–the librarians are constantly battling against the bums who piss on the outside street.

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