Monday, December 5, 2016

The Central branch incident. A follow-up report.

The main entrance to SPL Central branch.
It has been three weeks since the day when a Central branch library user, Joanne, witnessed a likely-homeless woman being – in Joanne’s judgment -- maltreated by a guard in the fourth-floor women’s restroom.
I wrote about the incident, and all that followed that day, in a blogpost titled “A question of civility, neatness and proper SPL policies.
I am not aware of anything happening in the past three weeks that can lead me to suppose that Sacramento Public Library Director, Rivka Sass, or the manager of the Central Branch, Jessica Jupitus, have done anything to investigate the fourth-floor incident or to update library rules or procedures.
When Joanne left Central branch on the day of the incident, it was understood that assessing the guard’s behavior and clarifying the rules were things that needed to be done by library management.
Also, when Joanne left Central that day, I was hopeful that Joanne and I would cross paths in the near term such to see where things stood and think about what should next be done to make the library branch fully welcoming toward homeless readers. But, I haven’t seen Joanne and I didn’t get any contact information from her.
Of course, three weeks isn’t a particularly long time. It’s not even a month! But it IS a goodly span of time such that something can have happened.
Since the incident, I wrote Director Rivkah Sass four times, without reply. First, on Nov. 14, I sent an email to Ms. Sass providing a link to my blogpost re the incident. My second email to her, on Nov. 20, I am coming to regret. It was altogether too friendly. It may have left Ms. Sass to think that all was well and she could take the day off, put her feet up, and read a thick novel. In my third email to Sass, on Nov 21, I sent her links to two of my blogposts about the difficulties that homeless people have. Scientific research has shown that average citizens dehumanize homeless people [Read "The Science of Hating Homeless People," and "Dehumanized Perception, A follow-up report."] In a fourth email, on Nov. 28, to the Central manager, Jessica, that cc’ed Sass, I floated the idea of “extravagant leniency” – that allows people to do what they feel they must, short of having sex – in the bathrooms. I mean – for cryin’ out loud – it’s a BATHROOM, which is the spot specially designated as the place to do disgusting and humiliating and unsavory things. Suppose you’re in the library and you suddenly need to vomit. Do you run down to see the IPress machine on the second floor? No! You scurry off to find a bathroom.
In my vital role as a blogger, I will continue to follow this story and report on any other incidents of bad library behaviors in regards to treatment of heroic, wonderful homeless people. [You rock, Homeless People. You know that you do.]


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