Library is open to all, but all should be asked to follow the rules

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I had not been to the public library in many years and I recently started going again. It’s disheartening to see the decline that has taken place. On any given day, I feel I am walking into a homeless shelter and not a library. Apparently many vagrants use the library as sanctuary to get in out of the heat.

Don’t get me wrong, I have huge empathy for their plight and I have given quite a bit to my local shelter over the last several years. Also, it might come as a surprise to some, but I myself live in my SUV with my dog and use the library to escape the heat during the day as well as do research. However, rules should not change to accommodate a small number of people. I would never dream of taking food and drinks inside the building, nor let my phone ring and disturb other patrons or speak in a non-library manner — use your quiet voice, people.

They allow people to sleep on the floors and in some areas, the trash cans are overflowing with food trash and empty 2-liter soda bottles, not to mention all the stains on the carpet. It is a challenge to even get a seat with a plug so I can use my laptop because they are taken by people who are just sitting and using their cellphones. Frankly, they could sit anywhere just to do that.

A person isn’t even safe leaving any items on a table for a quick restroom break because I can assure you they would not be there upon your return. Let’s not forget the parking lot where people approach you wanting money! I feel I have to constantly watch my surroundings from the time I pull into the parking lot until the time I am back in my automobile and the door is locked.

There is just no excuse for allowing these people to eat and drink inside the library. That can and should be done before entering. I can understand the need to keep all their items close by so they are not stolen, but again, partake of these items outside. I really do not understand why they even have security as it seems they are not allowed to even do their jobs.

Taxpayers support this library and in spite of my own situation, I am still a taxpaying citizen. I would like to see some changes made to this library so that everyone can feel safe and welcome when they visit.

Tammy Smith