January 20, 2022

New Jersey: Theft and Vandalism Cause Trenton Free Public Library to Ration Toilet Paper

From The Times of Trenton:

Library director Kimberly Matthews sounded bewildered this week as she tallied incidents that have taken place in recent months: whole rolls flushed down the toilet, toilet paper and paper towels stolen, soap dispensers ripped off the wall of the ladies room with what could only be a crowbar.

“These are not the things they teach you in library school,” she said.


Now soap, paper towels and toilet paper are no longer provided inside the library’s two bathrooms. If patrons need to use the bathroom, they are directed by signs outside the bathrooms to approach the front desk and ask for individual-sized portions of toilet paper that library staff roll out and prepare.


“Every public library in an urban or metropolitan environment has similar difficulties,” she [Matthews] said. “People will bathe in bathrooms, use them for all varieties of things they’re not meant to be for. People need essential hygiene products but we can’t supply them for them.”

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.