Saturday, January 07, 2006

Public Libraries and the Homeless

Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Local News: "A revised code of conduct being adopted at the Dallas Public Library and the city's recreation centers prohibits visitors from 'emitting odors (including bodily odors or perfumes), which interfere with use of services by other users or the work staff.'

The code also prohibits sleeping, bathing, eating and drinking at the facilities."

Of course, this policy is controversial for homeless advocates: "Who is to decide what odor is wrong or inappropriate?" Dallas homeless advocate James Waghorne asked.

The Santa Cruz Public Library doesn't address these issues in their online version of their policies. Surprising, considering the number of homeless in downtown.

The underlying problem here is precisely the "publicness" of the library itself. When something is owned by everyone, these disputes are unavoidable.


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