When did Pack Memorial Library become a daytime shelter for ex-cons and strung-out drug abusers? Surely, a diverse mix is wonderful and an Asheville tradition, but this is nothing like that. There is no mix of children and everyday families and business people there. All I ever see, daily, are downtrodden, strung-out and scary-looking thugs hanging out on the computers and loitering in the sidewalk areas in front of the library, blocking the nearby storefronts while harassing their potential customers. Why is this allowed?
Since its re-opening, the library has become a magnet at that end of Haywood Street for these dangerous types to go hang out, make their connections and "size up” passersby for [spare change].
With virtually no police presence at any given time, it’s a terrible combination for Asheville citizens who have to work or run businesses on that end of the downtown. Parking in the Civic Center lot and crossing through on the fifth-floor library "walk-thru" has also become a risky venture. I've been chased down the hall a few times in the last few months. It's pretty nerve-wracking.
With the library becoming the new hub for strung-out drug dealers and thugs, why is there no police presence or security outside on the Haywood Street entrance of the library where folks are walking and trying to get to their cars in the Civic Center parking lot? Even a minor amount of police patrolling could help dissuade much of what is happening and act as a deterrent. Why is there virtually none?
After all the library renovations, it's embarrassing for our town to have it rendered unusable and dangerous. Other towns somehow manage to have a library that isn't a hub of danger. Why can't we?
— Jon Roberts