Skip to main content

Standing Out is Not an Easy Thing for Central Branch to Do

In an email sent on April 8, we're told that Sacramento Public Library is a finalist -- one of a goodly number of finalists -- for the 2017 National Medal for Museum and Library Science.

With the continual denuding of the third floor of Central branch of its once-upon-a-time satisfactory number of tables and chairs -- in an ongoing very stark effort to make known to homeless users of the branch that they are unwelcomed -- it would, for me, be an outrage if the library system were to win anything from anyone this year.

SPL doesn't have the mettle to deserve this Medal.

Sacramento Public Library is nice, but its less-than-welcoming attitude toward the homeless is a huge deal.

SPL should correct its unfriendly ways toward homeless people and inform the Museum and Library Science folks that it will strive to be worthy of being a finalist for the medal NEXT year. In 2018.

Hating a contingent of users of a library is not something that wins over hearts and minds.  And the continual unwillingness of Administrators at Central branch to do anything helpful about the third-floor problem, is a Silence that Speaks Volumes.

The branch already has a dark history of hating homeless people, based on its deeds in years past to remove benches in front of the library where people could wait for the branch to open its doors.

Some wonderful benches that were installed when the branch first opened were replaced by less friendly benches and, then, for whatever reason, those benches were replaced by two long green benches that had no back to them, which were replaced by two small green benches with no back. One of those two benches was removed. And, then, a year or so ago, there were no benches -- just as there are no benches now. [See the Sacramento Homeless blog post "Homeless Hating by Design, and the Sacramento Library Benches Rip-Out of 2010."]

An addendum: It is likely little known by today's Sacramentans that the downtown branch of the Sacramento Public Library (now known as the Central branch) was first built with funds from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation. In 1914, $100,000 [then, an awesome sum] was spent to create the then-called main branch, which is now the remodeled portion of today's now-called Central branch where special events are held.

Carnegie, known as the father of modern philanthropy, made his fortune as a robber baron, using many nefarious means to amass spectacular wealth. In his old age, and after his death, he decreed that the lion's share of his fortune be spent to create buildings that aid people. Over 1600 libraries were constructed in America and yet more were built around the world. Carnegie funds were also used to construct concert halls, theaters and art centers. California has an especially high number of libraries funded by Carnegie's Foundation. The downtown Sacramento branch received special citation for the design and beauty of the building.

One thing Carnegie loved was the idea of having an abundant space for children to use such that they could come to love books and read proficiently. Carnegie would surely love the lower level at Central branch, today, and how that space is utilized.

The idea of free public libraries was dear to the heart of Andrew Carnegie and his wife Louise. Having made most of his fortune in the steel industry, Andrew Carnegie was committed to helping those who strove mightily to get by and their offspring. Constructing public libraries suited Carnegie as the best way to give struggling people a means to help themselves. A big library, that benefits from proper planning -- e.g., having enough chairs and tables for people to use, for crying out loud -- can be a beautiful thing.


Popular posts from this blog

More Homeless Hate from Marcos Breton

There was a long spell a handful of years ago when Marcos Breton said something so fully ridiculous in one of his hateful screeds against homeless folk that it appeared to be very apparent he had been taken off the Homeless Beat by his superiors. Unhappily, after a few months, Breton was again writing disparaging columns about homeless folk

In today's Bee [3/5/17], Breton has written one of his longest columns. Online, it is titled "The price downtown Sacramento is paying for Mayor Steinberg’s homeless crusade
Read more here: It goes on for days. The message, essentially, is this: Homeless people poop; they're getting a great deal of what they want from the overmuch-helpful mayor; and business people proximate to Chavez Park are made miserable by the forever-disgusting homeless that are there in great number.

O.K. Let's get into all this a bit. Except in Breton's mind, homeless pe…

The first-person dimension of homeless Sacramentans suffering from Schizophrenia

"Disabilities and dysfunction process from having been shunned and denied access to needed opportunitites and networks of support."
~ the brothers Lysaker in Schizophrenia and the Fate of the Self What is schizophrenia? How many are homeless Sacramentans?

Perhaps 15% of the Sacramento homeless population suffers from schizophrenia. The percentage is difficult to determine for many reasons that branch from both the fuzzy definition of the malady and that many people within the homeless community who have the illness (1) are in denial and are undiagnosed and (2) have the illness as a diagnosis only – the disability can be faked by people who are successful claimants of social security and other benefits.

What is schizophrenia? One webspace gives us this definition: The most chronic and disabling of the severe mental disorders. Typically develops in the late teens or early twenties. The overt symptoms are hallucinations (hearing voices, seeing visions), delusions (false beliefs ab…

Homelessness and Remembrance

This is a follow-up on the matter of remembering homeless people who have died and the Wall that Libby Fernandez wants to build in remembrance of the deceased. [See earlier blogpost "Tell Libby NOT to build her wall."]

This blogpost is prompted by a Philosophy Bites podcast released in the last couple days -- titled "C├ęcile Fabre on Remembrance." Fabre's take on why we honor or grieve for certain individuals or certain collections of individuals is not greatly helpful -- since his focus is mainly one of fallen war heroes and war casualties -- but it does open up the issue of why should there be a remembrance effort for deceased homeless people at all. Who is served by it? And has the effort been perverted by the avarice of charities in their insatiable drive for donations.

It is, for starters, a curious thing for "homeless people" to be a collective that is honored. I write that NOT because I don't want the best for homeless people. But, homelessn…