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Thread: Homeless at the library

  1. #1
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    Homeless at the library

    After reading up on it a bit, sounds like homeless hanging out at public libraries is an issue across the country. In our city, many patrons have stopped using the downtown library as the homeless have taken over - sitting in available chairs most of the day, bathing or using drugs in the restrooms, camping just outside the doors at night etc. Some come to use the computers to look for jobs.
    I am dismayed and perplexed at how to deal with this issue. Some libraries are hiring social workers. As a public entity, is it a right to use it as a place to stay warm and use the bathroom? Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    Station the social workers in the restrooms? Random drug dog patrols?

    i feel like bathing in the restroom is ok as long as you leave the area clean. And yes, you should be able to use the toilets and stay warm. The opportunity to clean yourself makes this more pleasant for others.

    i do not think you should be able to use the public library as a drug den. Nor do I think you should be allowed to create a disruption. Some of our local libraries have quiet rooms with half glass walls, tables, and chairs, that are reserved for minors doing solo research, schoolwork, writing, or reading. There are other rooms that are reserved for tutoring and group (of any age) projects. The computers kick you off after an hour and make you go to the end of the line to get back on. (They prompt you to save your work)

  3. #3
    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    Ban the drug users. One strike and they're out. For everyone else, as long as they aren't disruptive they have as much right to be there as anyone.

  4. #4
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Random drug dog patrols? Are you kidding!!!???

    more, later. Having worked in an urban core with the largest men’s shelter in the region across the street from the downtown library, I have a fair amount to say.

    but dog patrols....ah, NO. Why do you think homeless are the only ones carrying illegal substances?
    Last edited by iris lilies; 12-8-18 at 4:32pm.

  5. #5
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    In my view, over-control of homeless persons can be a pressure tactic to induce them to "get out of town".

    I noticed that Durango CO has attracted the attention of the ACLU, arguing that homelessness, per se, is not an offense... and it is unconstitutional to punish people for it. Durango's city manager seems to accept that the city can prevent homeless people from sleeping in a park or a public building, BECAUSE the city provides a space where the homeless can go. Durango's accommodation is a tenting area which is policed, which requires tents to be taken down and stored every morning. In Durango there is also a non-profit soup kitchen a few blocks walk from the tenting area. Residents along the route frequently call police to deal with trespassing, noise, public intoxication, etc.


    If there is no convenient needle exchange, it seems predictable that addicts will use libraries or any other spaces they have access to. If there are no public toilets open at all hours, there will be a physical necessity to "go" when/where possible.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Ultralight's Avatar
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    Just privatize the libraries so that the owners can determine who is allowed in and who is not.

  7. #7
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    No, i wasn’t kidding, and no I don’t think that. I think if we can have “drug free schools” we should be able to have “drug free libraries” and if the drug dog sniffs the local judge or a librarian, search them too. Put a sign on the door letting people know the premises is monitored by dogs and let them make their own decisions. (And I have some librarian friends who smoke weed)

  8. #8
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    Totally agree JP.

  9. #9
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    My experience at the library is since I don't bother the homeless they don't bother me.

  10. #10
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    It’s one of the few places that they can get out of the weather.

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