Bad B.O. now a no-no at county libraries

Anonymous Patron sends "this from the San Luis Obispo Tribune. Librarians at San Luis Obispo County library now have an ordinance that llows them to ask patrons with extreme body odor to leave.

That, of course, doesn't mean librarians will police the stacks of books, said library director Brian Reynolds.

Instead, he said librarians will act with common sense and ask people to leave only if they're ruining the library experience of others. "If you and I are sitting in a reasonable distance from each other -- 3 to 5 feet in our society, and you've done something that's so bad I can't stand to talk to you, then that becomes an issue," Reynolds said, noting that some people have smelled so bad that they've ruined furniture."

The law does not cover extreme use of fragrances, which can cause health problems for other users.


...library employees now have a legal standing to tell homeless people to go away

When I was a smelly, homeless traveller I always relished the refuge of the small local library.
This by-law seems it could be read to mean it's okay to abuse the homeless and the mentally ill because they are different to us: note again the lack of "no smelly perfume" by-law.

I hope the library has studied the Morristown and DC cases for how to word the policy. See

I work at a college library and the worst smells I have come across are the overly cologned or perfumed. I have had to leave my office at times due to the stench. The bad body odor people don't seem to bother my breathing too much. But then again, it's rare for a bad body odor person to come to my part of the library.

I'd rather be knocked over by overly ripe, weeks old sweat than be exposed to perfume or cologne. I've yet to have an allergic reaction to BO. (I've been exposed. My typing, er, keyboarding instructor when I took my receptionist course at school did NOT bathe nor did she wash her clothing, other than to 'air them out'.)

However, I DO have reactions to heavily scented products, my lips swell, I get a headache and my throat gets scratchy. It gets worse every time I'm exposed. Oh, for the day when we can kick the heavily scented patrons out as well!

I'd be raising a stink if this happened at my workplace. (pun intended)


I remember one homeless man at the public library (who some dubbed "Mr. Stinky"), who was quite smelly. Yes, perfumes can be stinky and nauseating, but this guy's BO made people nauseous even when he was across the room from them. He came to the library and stayed all day, with numerous patrons complaining about the smell. It went on for a few weeks--with staff having to hold their breath at the reference desk, even when he was about 50 feet away. Finally, a staff social worker with our in-house Information & Referral Agency approached him. After determining that he was receptive to it, she offered him some listings to agencies that offer all kinds of services to the homeless, including commodities distribution (personal care/hygiene items).
A few weeks later, he showed up with what appeared to be his not-homeless parents and siblings, and he was looking and smelling a lot better.
So maybe giving him information on agencies that help the homeless helped him--and even helped him reconnect with his family. Maybe it didn't. It was a tough call, because we didn't want to humiliate him.

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