The Library Code of Conduct states: “Bathing, shaving or washing clothes in public restrooms is not permitted.”
This applies to the computer lab as well.
Today I saw a woman lay newspaper on a chair then sit down and start pouring water on paper napkins and rubbing down her legs. Really scrubbing hard. As I was getting up to get the manager she started pouring water down her back.
First of all, this blog is horrible. It belongs to an employee of a public library (as its name suggests) and the tagline is “What makes a public library awesome is that we welcome everyone. Everyone.” The tone of this clearly implies the concluding clause “even undesirables,” and indeed, the blog consists mostly of mocking the elderly, the mentally ill, and people who are living outside.
Now, about this post. Firstly, what kind of fucked up library has a policy that states “Bathing, shaving, or washing clothes in public restrooms is not permitted.” The library is the only place in most inner cities where one can use a bathroom, particularly a “lock-em-up” and be totally welcome without spending any money. Many people who are living outside get ready in the library bathroom for this reason. Libraries are generally considered safe, welcoming spaces by homeless people (as they should be since they’re, you know, public places that are publicly funded). It’s where we use the internet, do the aforementioned readying, and hang out in the A/C or heat.
The poster can’t do anything about her library’s policy, but it’s the fact that her attitude reinforces it that bugs me. Everything she says here says, “OMG can you believe that someone would even TRY to bathe or shave in a public bathroom?” She uses what I think reads very clearly as a deadpan tone (for instance, giving the sentence “This applies to the computer lab as well” its own paragraph) which in almost any context is used to highlight the absurdity of the content.
Regarding the subject of this incident, I think it’s pretty clear that the woman is mentally ill in some way (this could include the type of PTSD unique to the long-term homeless which causes them to completely disregard cultural norms) and I just think it’s an unbelievably cheap shot.