Library sued for bad lending policy

posted by Mike on July 6th, 2006

Legal Assistance and the ACLU are suing Worcester and the library because the library has a policy that discriminates against borrowers who live in homeless shelters.

I love the library, and I hate lawsuits, but I think Legal Assistance has a point here. The early copy of the policy that I saw only looks at where a person lives, not whether the person has a habit of returning books on time.

Most library patrons can borrow 40 books at a time. But even if a person in a homeless shelter is all Abraham Lincoln, and walks ten miles through the snow each week to return his library books on time, he can only check out 2 books at a time. The policy says that the library will never trust him, so long as he’s living in one of the homeless shelters, transitional housing programs, or adolescent programs on “the list.”

I’m not aware of a library policy that restricts borrowing for people who live at other addresses that cater to transients, such as Single Room Occupancy (SRO) buildings.

Note that at least one non-institutional, private residence—the Catholic Worker house on Mason St—is listed included among the addresses “on the list” in the draft policy.

Updates to follow here and at Indymedia.

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