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Shame on the San Diego Public Library

March 24, 2014

Shame on San Diego Library

By worksbyjj


I am 60 years old and mind my P’s and Q’s. When I cuss, if I cuss, then I am frustrated.

San Diego downtown public library loves to make for frustration.

I’d been to the library on a weekday once before. I got on the computers. Great! No problems; I went again on a Saturday.

I sat at a computer and tried to log in and couldn’t as it was reserved till 1:50pm about 20 minutes. I didn’t want to wait so I tried another computer. Reserved. Another; reserved. And another, reserved. Damn near every computer was reserved and no one was sitting at them.

I asked one of the librarians when could I get on a computer, and she said when the reserve runs out it will reset.

Turned out to be about five minutes more on top of the twenty. Yup, it reset – reserved!

What was happening? Only 1/5 of the computers had anyone sitting at them and the all the others were reserved.

Shit! That’s what I said, but only after when I went to see the librarian and she was gone.

But as fate or the devil had a hand in it, another librarian helping another person about five feet from me heard me cuss from the frustration of it all. Now I don’t know about you, when I hear a patron cuss like that and look up at them, I would ask them if they needed help.

Yes I needed help. Much later I learned the computers are reserved on weekends. No sign says this, nor are you able to read about how reservations are made and which computers are available.

But did I get the help I needed? Was I even asked by this other librarian? No!

What happened? I’ll tell you in a moment, but did you know that the library had a zero tolerance rule in effect? This they say helps keep the homeless trouble makers out.

But there is no sign saying so, so what happens…the librarian that I wasn’t even talking to heard me cuss to myself under my breath and turned and called the security guard.

He comes up behind me and I turn and ask him what he wants. He says he wants to talk with me. Okay, I said, go ahead and talk.

He says the computers are reserved. I say tell me something I don’t know.

He tells me to calm down, I say I am calm. I may be frustrated and have raised my voice a little, as they seem hard of hearing. But all he does is say: calm down or you will have to leave. I say, what! Am I a terrorist or something that you can’t talk to me like a person? Better not let me find out where your car is I might blow it up.

He made me leave. Zero tolerance means zero consideration for the patron, zero help for a patron and zero recourse. At no time did he have to lay hands on me as I left. And the last thing I said to him when I left was, you’re an asshole.

I contacted the head librarian, Ms. Shelter, by phone and asked her answering device to have her call me back on a matter of importance. When she called me a couple days later, I explained everything to her and all she said is she would look into it and get back with me. She didn’t.

A little over a week later I called again. Ms. Shetler didn’t answer, a librarian named Ms. Janice talked to me.

It was Janice that told me about the zero tolerance rule, it was she who told me about the reservation computer station and how it is also where I can find out which computer is open.

All of the information the ‘other’ librarian should have told me after asking if she can help. But she didn’t ask if she could help did she?

Janice also told me about the letter that was put on file about me and to be used to keep me out of the library in the future.

That was too much!!! A county facility that treats everyone as a terrorist at the smallest complaint is bad enough, but now I was frustrated and now added to that was a library and a librarian who notified a guard to make me leave. They were both wrong to allow a zero tolerance rule to overrule good sense and of giving help when needed.

It’s wrong for any guard who deals with the public to tell a person who is a little loud when frustrated to calm down repeatedly when all they need to do is talk sense. At no time did anyone there try to help me. I don’t know why the tattletale librarian thought to contact a guard rather than offer to help.

Let me tell you something else too, when you go to the new library in downtown San Diego you see a huge building several floors high; exhibiting architecture that says: this cost money. Yet there are only two front glass doors for entrance and for exit. Should an earthquake, a fire or some catastrophe that needs for quick exiting of the building, happen, then with only one small opening that can be used, you are likely going to end up dead in a very expensive coffin.

With the heartless treatment of a long time patron, one who has bought books to help them raise needed funds, one who has written several books to put on their shelves and has received a couple ‘literary Guild’ medals from the Director himself at the private author’s parties the library has for its local authors. If he knew his librarians were taking liberty of a rule to mis-treat people so callously… I actually hope they would get fired, then trash that zero tolerance rule and start being a place worth preserving. As it stands you have lost all of my voting and gift donation support!!!

Ms. Shetler never returned my call; she never informed me of the letter on file. I was never told that I was forever evicted. It would have only added insult to the lack of decency that was being given. Fire her or transfer her to the library in the North Pole where she can evict all of the penguins she doesn’t want to help. As for the Other librarian who didn’t even ask if she could help, put her out of the public eye and give her a demotion.

For Ms. Janice, I have nothing but praise for her…give her a raise and promote her to the head spot that the crummy Ms. Shetler doesn’t deserve. Janice was courteous, and explained everything. Even she thought that the Zero tolerance rule is too strict. And she explained all about the reservation computer station.

It is a shame that a public library thinks it should embrace a zero tolerance rule that they use to evict the homeless. It’s bad service and makes a good excuse for an angry act to be enacted out of spite. And in a library that treats the homeless this negative way they are only hurting themselves. And I’ll tell you this, the homeless person who has nothing to lose will act out at this kind of treatment and in a building that doesn’t have but one entrance and exit for hundreds of patrons, a mad fire will make for a death trap in a building not built for safety.

I think I should be given a letter of apology from both the tattletale librarian and the guard, the old guard, John, who recently retired from this library would not have acted like this. .

Janice, thank you for your courteous and helpful attitude; there is not enough of that kind of professionalism left going around.

I was wrong to cuss to myself, but what followed was not called for. I believe the zero tolerance rule is totalitarian and in line with the scriptures that say, ‘the love of many will grow cold.’

And that is a big shame. It has already started. So stay away from this death trap of a library. In Him, J.J.

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