Library news: the morning after

posted by Mike on July 7th, 2006

Last night, Kevin Ksen posted a story to Indymedia giving some of the background on the lawsuit against the library for its borrowing policy.

He points out that the first solid information about the policy came from a public information request from Real Solutions in January; and that Indymedia first ran hard facts about the story back in January.

In his article in the T&G, Lee Hammel gets quotes from some of the lawyers involved, and makes the City look stupid:

But City Solicitor David M. Moore said, “Legally, this is a reasonable policy to address non-returned books.” He said library research shows “people without addresses or addresses at shelters accounted for a substantial percentage of books not returned,” although the library yesterday had no figures available to quantify that.

Worcester library officials said other libraries have similar policies, and Mr. Moore said there are “no courts that have found this practice legally objectionable or unconstitutional.” He said that he knows of no cases that have gone to court.

Jonathan Mannina, Legal Assistance Corp. executive director, said that other libraries, including Porter County, Ind., have dropped similar policies in the face of opposition without going to court over it. He said the Worcester library has not shared figures on non-returns it attributes to people living in shelters, but he said he is not aware of city policies that discriminate against others who might have a higher rate of no-returns, such as college students, people who live in apartments, or people who live out of town and are allowed to take up to 40 items at a time from the library.

All this is breaking while I’m moving to the midwest, taking Greyhounds hither and yon. My hat is off to these gents for adding facts to the story.

I’m still wondering: Did the library “run the numbers” for all addresses in the city, or just shelters?

Update: Kevin Ksen reports that the drive-time guys on WTAG this morning called the suit “frivilous.”

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