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Old 08-07-2018, 01:44 PM
 
1,130 posts, read 516,401 times
Reputation: 1794

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Houston parent View Post
Maybe they could require a library card to enter (as opposed to just checking out books). Couple that with requiring a valid photo ID to get a library card for all non-minors and that would probably cut down on the numbers.


When I started working downtown in the early 90's, I made the mistake of trying to eat my lunch outside on the plaza in front of the library one day when the weather was nice. Immediately, some homeless guys sits down next to me and starts trying to have a conversation. He made remarks like "I bet that briefcase is just FULL of money". When I got up to get away from him, he yelled some obscenities at me. Never made that mistake again. Its pretty sad that many of our nice public spaces are not useable by the taxpayers who fund them because of large numbers of aggressive vagrants.
Elitist, much? Libraries are public buildings, and are open to all. Getting a library card does, in fact, require a valid photo ID. If you require a library card for entrance, how does someone get a card if they aren't allowed in?

If the vagrants are actually aggressive, get a cop, otherwise, realize you live in a large city and not everything is all peachy keen. This isn't Lake Woebegone.
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Old 08-07-2018, 02:50 PM
 
Location: Houston
188 posts, read 114,730 times
Reputation: 222
Quote:
Originally Posted by WRM20 View Post
Elitist, much? Libraries are public buildings, and are open to all. Getting a library card does, in fact, require a valid photo ID. If you require a library card for entrance, how does someone get a card if they aren't allowed in?

If the vagrants are actually aggressive, get a cop, otherwise, realize you live in a large city and not everything is all peachy keen. This isn't Lake Woebegone.
Why do you start your reply with a negative remark? Where's the defense for people that are genuinely afraid to go to such public places due to this issue?

How does somebody get into Costco or Sam's without a membership?
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Old 08-07-2018, 03:28 PM
 
1,130 posts, read 516,401 times
Reputation: 1794
Quote:
Originally Posted by IndyRC View Post
Why do you start your reply with a negative remark? Where's the defense for people that are genuinely afraid to go to such public places due to this issue?

How does somebody get into Costco or Sam's without a membership?
The poster I replied to was being elitist, implying that homeless people should be excluded from public buildings because he/she doesn't like them, and that the homeless are less deserving of using public spaces because they don't pay taxes. People that are afraid of going to the library because, gasp, homeless people are there need to get a grip - the homeless aren't preventing them from visiting the library. As for the situation on a bench, I've found that ignoring the homeless works pretty well. The world isn't all clean and pretty, there's a lot of mess, and it's just something we have to deal with, especially in a city the size of Houston.

Costco and Sam's are private businesses, they can limit their customers to members. Public libraries can't discriminate in that fashion.
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Old 08-07-2018, 05:42 PM
 
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
4,150 posts, read 2,157,557 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by War Beagle View Post
Libraries have become this way in every city. They are basically a place for the homeless to hang out, watch movies and use the computers to masturbate.
How would you know? Are you a "watcher"?
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Old 08-08-2018, 07:12 AM
 
8,124 posts, read 5,694,889 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SFBayBoomer View Post
How would you know? Are you a "watcher"?
Because it's in the news all of the time all over the country. I'm sure it's quite prevalent in your city, along with the piles of human waste and used syringes that provide much of the cultural enrichment in SF.
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Old 08-08-2018, 12:07 PM
 
1,036 posts, read 1,229,238 times
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Agree that this has been the case for decades, around the country, and with no real solution. While it is a public space, it is unfortunate that they often can't be utilized/enjoyed for the intended purpose. Libraries are already struggling to maintain a viable niche.
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Old 08-08-2018, 12:36 PM
 
Location: Houston
188 posts, read 114,730 times
Reputation: 222
Quote:
Originally Posted by WRM20 View Post
The poster I replied to was being elitist, implying that homeless people should be excluded from public buildings because he/she doesn't like them, and that the homeless are less deserving of using public spaces because they don't pay taxes. People that are afraid of going to the library because, gasp, homeless people are there need to get a grip - the homeless aren't preventing them from visiting the library. As for the situation on a bench, I've found that ignoring the homeless works pretty well. The world isn't all clean and pretty, there's a lot of mess, and it's just something we have to deal with, especially in a city the size of Houston.

Costco and Sam's are private businesses, they can limit their customers to members. Public libraries can't discriminate in that fashion.
We could debate all day as to why people might be afraid of the homeless, rather it be a real threat or perceived, but that does not change the fact that it will drive some people away. And I believe they are entitled to their opinion and I respect that, as opposed to calling them elitist.

I know Costco and Sam's are private, but my point is that they still let people in to obtain a membership, much as a library would. You asked how somebody gets in the door of a library if a card is required.
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Old 08-08-2018, 12:40 PM
 
1,183 posts, read 1,069,850 times
Reputation: 1759
Quote:
Originally Posted by IndyRC View Post
We could debate all day as to why people might be afraid of the homeless, rather it be a real threat or perceived, but that does not change the fact that it will drive some people away. And I believe they are entitled to their opinion and I respect that, as opposed to calling them elitist.

I know Costco and Sam's are private, but my point is that they still let people in to obtain a membership, much as a library would. You asked how somebody gets in the door of a library if a card is required.
The condition of a public space being public is that it is for all. That is the ground of a civil, democratic society. What you are referring to is a dangerous shift toward a technocratic, privatized ideal, in which a society is not based on the "all" but on the exclusion of someone or something. I would rather not have smelly homeless people in my library, but that is much better than the alternative of excluding them from one of the few public spaces we have left in our society. Moreover, by being forced to deal with these people, maybe we will consider social change that will result in less homelessness. They are not trash or waste, they are human beings, after all.
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Old 08-08-2018, 09:38 PM
 
8,124 posts, read 5,694,889 times
Reputation: 11519
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerbear30 View Post
The condition of a public space being public is that it is for all. That is the ground of a civil, democratic society. What you are referring to is a dangerous shift toward a technocratic, privatized ideal, in which a society is not based on the "all" but on the exclusion of someone or something. I would rather not have smelly homeless people in my library, but that is much better than the alternative of excluding them from one of the few public spaces we have left in our society. Moreover, by being forced to deal with these people, maybe we will consider social change that will result in less homelessness. They are not trash or waste, they are human beings, after all.
Our society isn't really based on the "all" though. Sure, it might be that way in theory, but the reality is we divide ourselves up into various groups and tribes. We are too big and too diverse for their to be an "all" the way that might be possible in a small, homogeneous society.

I think this ties into the library issue. The vast majority of typical non-homeless parents are NOT going to take their kids to a place that is loaded with drug-addled or mentally ill homeless people. They just wont. This leads to the question of which group should be the prime beneficiary of public resources.

Librarians have a tough decision to make: allow the homeless free reign at the library and drive away families and other regular people, or keep them away so parents are comfortable. Either decision has consequences. There's no doubt that the library could be an excellent resource for the homeless as a place to find information about jobs or treatment options. But a counter argument could be made that people who are productive members of society should have access to safe public spaces.

I guess my point is that this is another issue we have to wrestle with in a pluralistic society. One group being given access to benefits of some sort usually results in another group being denied or having reduced access.
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Old 08-08-2018, 10:23 PM
 
Location: Houston
6,846 posts, read 12,392,242 times
Reputation: 5771
I don't see anything wrong with homeless people using the library. They are pretty much the only people who can benefit from it. Most of us download books on kindles and stepping into a library is an unnecessary inconvenience. Without the homeless the downtown library would probably be empty.
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