City leaders are cracking down on repugnant behaviors in the library, amounting to a clampdown effort that some are saying largely targets San Francisco’s homeless population.
Earlier this year Mayor Ed Lee encouraged the SF Library Commission to institute penalties for those who violate the code of conduct. Previously, patrons who caused a ruckus among the stacks would be dealt with by receiving a stern, yet often fruitless verbal warning.
If approved, librarians will be able to enforce rules that prevent patrons from depositing bodily fluids on library materials, physically abusing staff or having sex in the library.
Other rules include a ban on bathing in bathroom sinks, sleeping between the stacks and on patrons who emit a “strong, pervasive odor.”
The new Patron Code of Conduct features penalties beyond harsh warnings. Repeat offenders could be banned from municipal libraries for up to a year.
Members of the city’s Coalition on Homelessness are crying foul, claiming that requisites like the odor rule are ultimately unenforceable and discriminatory.
The library’s staff disagrees. “It’s not targeted at any one group – this is a very welcoming environment,” stated City Librarian Luis Herrera to the Chronicle. “It’s about making sure people use the library for its intended purpose.”
It is worth noting that recently, the library cited incidences involving a man urinating on books and another smashing a computer with a hammer.
Read the full story at the San Francisco Chronicle.