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Pasadena’s Historic Central Library Shuts Down Due To Seismic Safety Issues




Pasadena's historic Central Library has been closed due to seismic concerns. (Courtesy of the city of Pasadena)
Pasadena's historic Central Library has been closed due to seismic concerns. (Courtesy of the city of Pasadena)

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The city of Pasadena is closing the historic Central Library location because of seismic safety concerns.

In-person library services only recently resumed at the location, as well as other branches, after COVID-19 closures.

But a recent structural assessment found most of the building consists of bearing walls made up of unreinforced masonry. That creates an "imminent life safety hazard," according to an order from the city.

City Manager Steve Mermell called the closure "devastating news for us all."

“We intend to do everything in our power to assess the severity of the problem and to work toward its resolution," he said in the news release. "This library cannot remain vacant, and we need to conserve it for another century of use.”

The city passed an ordinance in 1993 requiring all buildings with unreinforced masonry be retrofitted, emptied, or demolished. City officials said in a news release, that they haven't been able to find any record as to why the Central Library wasn't identified as part of that project.

With files from LAist

Guests:

Lucy Jones, seismologist and founder and chief scientist at the Lucy Jones Center for Science & Society, a natural disaster risk reduction research organization; she is author of the book, “The Big Ones: How Natural Disasters Have Shaped Us (and What We Can Do About Them)" (Doubleday, 2018); she tweets @DrLucyJones

Steve Mermell, city manager for the City of Pasadena

Sue Mossman, executive director of Pasadena Heritage, a non-profit historic preservation organization