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O Library!

Working in an academic institution makes me forget how depressing a visit to the public library is. Public library is a place for the community to learn, to research, and to read. I have been a firm supporter of our public library–in terms of donation and patronage, and will continue to show my support. But I can’t help feeling sad about how the nature of library use has deviated from its intended cause. The Main Library has become not so much a library as it is a haven for the homeless, the crazy, and obnoxious kids. Plan on using the computers, especially the public internet stations? Bring some Lysol, Purell, and a face mask. You’re going to be sitting next to crazy people who haven’t seen a bar of soap, shampoo, or, likely, toilet paper in quite some time. If the stink doesn’t get you, then the ranting will. Now that summer has arrived and that school is out for break, joining in the competition for these computers are kids. I don’t really care for the computers since internet has never been my purpose for a library visit. But it’s their noise that unnerves me. I guess the parents are not teaching them about self-entitlement–the need to purge it. Isn’t it ironic that you’re learning–in a library–that so many of today’s youths have absolutely no future?

The best part is about complaint. If you talk to someone at the information/reference/help desk, they would just shrug apologetically and smile. They’ve heard it all before and will have no solutions whatsoever. What can they do, really? I actually feel sorry that their professionalism is inevitably reduced to handling with guests whose interests are far cry from what library is created to function. The whole floor is filled with people from the streets who hang out there all day, with their luggage in tow and phones charging at the study tables. If anyone has to brace against the filthiness, the smell, and the madness, it’s the poor staff. Now I map out my visit and get out as soon as I’m through. No lingering around to read and to work on the laptop–I’ll go find a cafe.

Now the bright spot of my library visit is the weekly step sale in which every book is $1. There are great treasures to be had here if you’re patient to work your way through the tables because it can be blustery. I scored five books in excellent condition.


2 Responses

  1. I’m really sad that this is what the library in your area has become. I wish parents would teach their kids to be quiet in the library. My library has areas where kids can collaborate and make more noise so they don’t disturb those of us that are enjoying the quiet of the library.

  2. Methinks since the interest in our public libraries have been waning over the last several years (esp. due to the advent of e-books to replace physical books….or Netflix to replace library DVDs, etc), the library has the need to placate the public in any way possible, including making allowances for those obnoxious people. This is done so that the public won’t complain so much about the library getting funding from the County government.

    I work in a public library in Kentucky myself, so I know. The only times that the library is allowed to kick a patron out is when he/she opens an illegal website such as porn, or when he/she poses a threat to other patrons/staff. Other than that, librarians really have no power to kick anybody out.

    A sad fact, really.

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