Council to take up rules on library behavior (updated)

Chris Elam calls attention to a Chronicle report on new rules being requested by the Houston Public Library.

Yesterday, KHOU-11's Dan Lauck also reported on the matter:

The library house rules haven't officially been changed since 1981.

"Quite a bit has changed since then," says the Houston Public Library's Sandra Fernandez.

The homeless, for example, in 1981 didn't view the city library as a public shower.

Now, some do.

"Unfortunately, a few get carried away," says patron Mike Kane.

"They're washing clothes in the sink," says patron Thomas Goutier, "Y'know, dirty socks."

Kane and Goutier come to the central library a couple days a week to read or use the Internet. They've seen the change.

"There was one gentleman who'd go upstairs and it looked like he'd take a full bath up there," says Kane. "I saw him do it several times, and I was not too enthused about it."

It was for the vast majority of its patrons that library officials decided to officially prohibit anyone from using the restrooms for bathing, shaving and changing clothes. .

Councilmember Gordon Quan
Council will take up the new rules on Wednesday. Councilmember Gordon Quan, who is contemplating a run as a Democrat for the Congressional seat currently held by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R), has concerns about the request:

City councilman Gordon Quan said he is concerned about the way the homeless will be treated if the new rules pass city council Wednesday.

At some point, it seems likely that a court will rule that the homeless have a right to bathe, wash clothes, and otherwise abuse the library facilities generously provided by taxpayers. In the meantime, they seem to have Councilmember Quan as their advocate.

UPDATE (04-27-2005): Council passed the new rules for the libraries. The full list of rules is available here (in PDF format).

UPDATE (04-29-2005): Laurence Simon takes apart the contentions of councilmember Ada Edwards, who opposed the new rules.

Posted by Kevin Whited @ 04/26/05 09:30 PM | Print |

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