Sunday, July 01, 2007

Library limits homeless patrons
to 2 hours a day

John Rush was not disruptive, intoxicated or unclean, but he was spending the better part of his days at the public library. That ended when the security guard asked him to leave.

The Hyannis Public Library has a rule which states: "The library is a place for quiet study and research. Any person who, in the opinion of the library staff, is habitually not using the library for its intended purpose will be limited to two hours per day."

Rush complained to the Barnstable Town Council the next night, describing the library's policy to remove people who are not doing anything as discriminatory and inhumane.

Library and security staff responded with a gritty blow-by-blow of their more than 20-year history with the Hyannis street population. The head librarian described death threats from deranged patrons, fights, assaults, and sex in the bathroom.

Dealing with mentally ill, intoxicated or otherwise disruptive patrons is a task they don't teach you in librarian school. But it's part of the job in places like Hyannis that are located within walking distance of shelters, halfway houses and human service organizations.

Read the Cape Cod Times article here and see previous post (about libraries and AMerica's slashed safety net) here.


At 8:48 PM, Blogger John C said...

This wasn't about the homeless issue. This wasn't about body odor. This wasn't about sleeping in a library.

This was; and is; about acceptable discrimination towards people by society and local communities, while minimizing them with stereotypical profiling.

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