San Diego has a bright, shiny new library — but that doesn’t mean all of the long-simmering tensions surrounding its downtown location have been stamped out.

One of our Active Voice bloggers, Christie Ritter, aired some critiques about the new Central Library Monday, a few of which stirred up some intense debate among readers.

Ritter wrote that a number of logistical issues with the grandiose building are already apparent, including limited parking. But the complaint that prompted the loudest response was Ritter’s worry that “the new library will become a homeless encampment.”

Homelessness is by no means a new issue for the city (check out Kelly Bennett’s past reporting — here’s a handy guide and a breakdown of where federal funding goes to help San Diego combat homelessness), but sensitive nonetheless.

Here is a roundup of some of the intriguing points made in the comments, and over in The Plaza.

“The library needs a code of conduct and it needs to be enforced. No shouting in a library seems to be a rule as old as libraries themselves.” — Mark Griffin

“A Central Library doesn’t obviate the need for branch libraries!! Each has its own mission! Christie, my advice to you is RELAX, OPEN YOUR EYES, AND ENJOY!!!” — Amy Roth

“Manage the library is the problem you identify with this analysis? Umm … raise the issue. You could have used this as a teachable moment to tell your child about mental illness, and how a series of Republican policy decisions (aided by willing bipartisan Democrats) have made it more difficult for people to find help — if it even exists.” — Michael Gildea

“Each time a public project is proposed for downtown, suburban opposition seems inevitable. … This provincial approach is familiar in our city and could help explain why San Diego’s downtown lags its peers.” — Paul Jamason

“Considering that I have visited the library every day since it opened, and have had zero problems there, except for the elevators that sometimes skip floors, I’d have to say that Ms Ritter is either overreacting or has a particular agenda for writing this article. … If Ms. Ritter takes issue with homeless people at the library, the problem is most certainly Ms. Ritter’s.” — Kevin Barbieux

“What would be super cool is for the library to be able to offer the ballpark parking when it’s so empty on non-game days.” — Jennifer Reiswig

“The money could have been spent on smaller-scale branch libraries in all San Diego neighborhoods instead of building a monument to egos run amok.” — James Weber

“I don’t go to libraries. What’s the point? I can pull up any book I want in seconds off the web from any of several sources, without dodging bums and brats. I have dozens of ebooks I don’t have time to read, I’m working too hard to pay for giant gaudy eggs and other taxpayer abuses to relax and read anything that takes more than three seconds if it isn’t work related.” – Jim Jones

Catherine Green

Catherine Green was formerly the deputy editor at Voice of San Diego. She handled daily operations while helping to plan new long-term projects.

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