Haley Flores grew up poring over history books at the Santa Ana Public Library while her little brothers built up their vocabulary there and read tales about alien attacks and outer space.
But a visit to the downtown library has become, on many days, a walk through a gantlet of misery: Homeless men and women sleep in the lawn while others plead with visitors for change.
Inside the building, signs warned people to avoid restrooms where some homeless use sinks and even toilet water to bathe themselves and wash their clothes. Some of Santa Ana’s down and out used the study carrels to look for jobs — others shot up drugs, with syringes found discarded in planters and even a box of toilet seat covers.
Security guards carry syringe disposal kits on their tool belts.
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