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Homeless People and the Seattle Public Library

Via SRRT’s Fred Stoss and DrWeb’s Domain, a profile of the Seattle Public Library’s relationship with homeless patrons:

“New Library a Haven for Homeless”
by Vanessa Ho
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2006

... [T]oday, the library is doing more to accommodate both rich and poor. There are more programs for a wider audience, from noontime lectures to children’s events to writing workshops for homeless people …

Anyone who reeks gets a polite request to leave and a card telling him or her where to get a free shower.

“That’s probably the one that’s the most difficult to enforce, because it’s really personal,” [security officer Christopher] Hogan said.

Since the library opened, officers have barred more than 800 rule breakers, mostly for sleeping or being disruptive. The exclusions last for a few days to one year.

[Tiberious] Shapiro, who often plays pinochle online, said he had a spell of nodding off at the library, which got him banned. He had torn his shoulder at a job heaving 50-pound sacks of rice, was on painkillers and couldn’t stay awake. But the officers, he said, had been nice about it.

“They go out of their way to give you every possible chance they can.”

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