Movie in the Works About Homeless at Libraries

It's something Chip Ward saw every year when he was assistant director of Salt Lake City's public library system. Ward was trained to organize information, to file papers and data. But his job, he says, was as much about knowing regulars as it was shelving books. He wrote an arresting piece on the subject entitled How the Public Library Became the Heartbreak Hotel. Emilio Estevez is now reportedly producing a movie based on its themes; the working title is "The Public" and it will be based in L.A.

There was Crash, a happy drunk with a deep scar that cleaved his face from forehead to chin. There were Mick and Bob who suffered seizures. Margi had dementia. John, open wounds he wouldn't treat. For each, the library was as much a home as anywhere else.

Ward worked at Salt Lake City's central branch, an architecturally arresting five-story structure that opened in 2003. A wedge-shaped, glass-fronted wonder that features cafes, an art gallery and one of the world's largest collections of graphic novels, the branch is also the Utah capital's de facto daytime shelter for the homeless and a default hangout for street kids and misfits.

Ward spent five years at the branch. After he retired, he wrote an essay about his work. Published online, the piece became a minor sensation. It was e-mailed from library to library before breaking into the mainstream.

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Just wonder what point of view it'll come from, probably some embitered library manager being 'the man' and making the day to day librarian throw people out, them then ending up helping them, maybe even falling in love with the lady at the local soup kitchen. That sort of thing.

As I've said before about this it is the lack of enforcement that causes problems. Noone ever seems to enforce Library rules. In that example there was a rule of no drinking that was stuck to, but what about the other rules? Things like disturbing other patrons and being offensive can easily be found in existing rules, and if not then create some new ones! If a 'normal' patron did the same thing they would be thrown out straight away, why is it different for someone because they are mentally not able to control themselves?

Yes many libraries have to deal with such problems, and it is sad, but you have to consider the good of the majority of users and of your own staff!
If the rules are followed then you have a better working environment, patrons can use the facilities properly and money is not wasted on cleaning up or replacing materials damaged by those people unable to control themselves.
It is not the library staffs responsibility to deal with people who cannot abide by the rules.
Socially it's a seperate issue of course and yes it would be great to help people as much as possible but as a straight job rule and a straight public provision rules it is very very clearcut to me.
If I had been in that library having to clean up etc then I would have probably brought action against the library.

Definitely agree with what you stated. Your explanation was certainly the easiest to understand. I tell you, I usually get irked when folks discuss issues that they plainly do not know about. You managed to hit the nail right on the head and explained out everything without complication. Maybe, people can take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks.

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