October 26, 2021

San Francisco Public Library Proposes New Code of Conduct With Penalties

From the SF Chronicle:

Just when you think there couldn’t possibly be another battle over the behavior of homeless people in San Francisco, along comes a new brouhaha among the stacks at the city’s Main Library.


The mayor’s letter [sent in January] to [library] commissioners proposed creating a Family and Education Fun Zone around the library and suggested that the first step should be instituting actual penalties for breaking the library’s long-standing code of conduct. Previously, most bad behavior was met simply with a warning to stop.

In response, library staff beefed up the Patron Code of Conduct with much harsher penalties than the admonishment, “Uh, that’s a sink – not a bathtub.” Under the proposals, which will likely be tweaked after community input and voted on by the commissioners this spring, repeat offenses could result in being banned from all the city’s public libraries for up to a year.

Library administration would circulate a description of the suspended person to managers at its branch libraries, though it’s hard to imagine how the ban would work since there aren’t ID checks to enter a library. Suspended persons would get a letter notifying them of the ban and telling them they could request a hearing to try to get it overturned.


But homeless advocates aren’t buying it. After all, who else is likely to bring carts into the building, sleep on the furniture or emit a “strong, pervasive odor” – all of which would be grounds for suspension?

Read the Complete Article
Includes Comments from City Librarian Luis Herrera

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.