[People in Need Are Filling and Taxing Libraries By SUSAN SAULNY and KAREN ANN CULLOTTA Published: April 1, 2009]
Libraries across the country are learning to deal with violence, shootings, stabbings, daily theft of personal property, and hostile and mentally unstable people. They say it's the economy.
But there isn't a week (saying "a day" just wouldn't be true) that goes by that someone doesn't steal someone else's crap from right under our noses.
Now, seriously, why is that? Is it because people leave their crap out for someone to take? If your answer is Yes, then you have a truly low opinion of people. The idea that everyone is a potential criminal given the opportunity is an idea I won't accept. I refuse to accept that leaving something out in the open will force someone to disregard their nature and take it. Would you take it? Let's say you really needed it? Yes?
More and more people who need pretty much everything are in our library every day. Someone took your keys? your wallet? your purse? your bike? your phone? your laptop? your passport? your W-2 you were copying? your baby? your shoes? your sandwich? your innocence?
I know what it would take for me to steal from someone. And it wouldn't just take me being unemployed. I would have to be so bad off that I didn't care about any consequences of my actions. And I haven't felt that way since I was a teenager. So maybe children are doing all the stealing. Those little Artful Dodger bastards. Consider yourself one of the family, my ass.
We now have emotionally fragile people packed together into a tiny box with thieving children. It's a powder keg, a powder keg, I sez!
Librarians are feeling the stress so much that one library is hiring a therapist. The real problem is that these librarians thought it was a good idea to transform the library into a community center or public square. The Library says, "Come on in. Everyone is welcome," but it never provides adequate security or bathroom facilities to handle the crowd. Have you seen the public square in your town? That's where all the crime is. There are no laughing children chasing unicorns or pandas giving piggy-back rides to smaller pandas wearing sailor suits. It's a mad house, a mad house, I sez!
Every other type of business conducts studies for how much business it can handle, how many people, how much traffic.
“We hope things get better,” said Lt. Paul Vernon, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department, noting the difficulty of policing libraries. “The library is a place where people tend to congregate, and from a public and government standpoint, you can’t really restrict people.”What? Mr. Police Man says you can't restrict how people congregate? No wonder gang violence is so high in L.A., the cops can only wait for the gunfire to cease and the gangs to disperse on their own before they show up to put up yellow tape and fill out forms.
And the librarians don't make the library environment any better: the libraries say they have lines of people waiting for job search and resume help. “I've had people come in and talk for hours,” one librarian says. Hours? With one person? Isn't that person supposed to be out looking for freaking job?
It's clear that libraries are not prepared for this. We wait for someone to get stabbed before we recognize there's a problem. We overload the lifeboat then wonder what went wrong when Walter Slezak starts killing us in our sleep.