An open letter to the city:

As a frequent and loyal user of the Central Square branch of the Cambridge Public Library system, I am writing with an observation and a concern. The drop/return slot located at the Pearl Street entrance of the library gets lots of use, particularly now that the library is closed on Saturday. However, the alcove in which the slot is located also gets a lot of unpleasant nocturnal activity — including apparent drug use and defecation — which makes the slot utterly off-putting for library patrons.

I recognize that the unfortunate architecture of the Pearl Street entrance likely can’t be modified, but I suspect that some kind of halfway solution could make a big difference. Could the alcove be illuminated at night? Or could a closed-circuit camera be installed?

I confess that I often approach the return slot with trepidation, uncertain of what or whom I’m going to find in the alcove. It would be a huge benefit to your patrons to try to clean up that small area, particularly now that the interior of the library has been so nicely renovated.

Thank you for listening,

Kate Fichter, Sidney Street