MIAMI – A vocal army of students and community members passed out flyers Wednesday afternoon outside the Allapattah Library, which is slated to close in December to make way for an affordable housing project.
An online petition was launched Tuesday asking that any new development include a library and space for the public.
Patrick Gajardo, president of the Allapattah Neighborhood Association, said the library is an an asset to the community.
“I’m a 47-year resident of Allapattah, born and raised here,” Gajardo said. “This was always a safe haven when I was a kid. It’s a safe haven for my son.”
Recent graduates of nearby Miami Jackson Senior High School said the library is a critical lifeline.
“I’ve been here since I was three years old, so this library means a lot to me,” said Fernando Salgado.
Chelsea Hercules said the library gave her the opportunity to overcome obstacles at home and flourish academically.
“This library has impacted me in many ways. I graduated early because of the library,” she said.
The library sits on public land, managed by the City of Miami, and operated by the county library system.
In September, Miami commissioners voted to cancel its agreement with the county and approved a new housing project in the same parcel of land.