Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Homeless people in the libraries of Buncombe County: don't look like you're sleeping or have a mental illness

Many people w/ Severe Persistent Mental Illnesses take medications which cause them to feel drowsy during the day (no, that's not me):

Dear Mr. Sheary, Director of the Buncombe County Library System:

Thank you for your reply.

I was not asking for preferential treatment and I was not suggesting that you turn the downtown library into a day shelter. There is a day shelter within one-half mile of the downtown library.

I was asking that my tiny little bit of private space between my face and my laptop be respected.

I am reminded of the German expression, 'Work Will Make You Free' over the gates of the Dachau concentration camp.

The library's motto might be: 'Sleeping Will Cause You to Get Shaken.'

May I ask who are the members of the Board that oversee the Buncombe County Library System?

As a psychologist, I have homeless clients that live in Asheville that only want a tiny bit of space for their own and will put up with a great deal in order to have this.

They are thrown out of The Mission early in the morning and roam the streets or hang out until the day shelter closes at 5 around the corner from the Salvation Army.

The Family Care Homes, which provide them w/ food and lodging, for 95% of their disability checks, are grungy, boring existences.

I quite understand that Asheville believes it has an agenda to 'make it look good for the tourists' and I am not opposed to that matter.

However, I do not believe that applies to my tiny personal space.

I'll be following this up, Mr. Shearing. Forward this to anyone you like.

I'm submitting it to the Mountain Express as an Opinion piece. Look for it. And I will contact the ACLU.

marsha hammond, phd
Here is the letter from Ed Shearing who directs the Buncombe County Library System:

At 01:35 PM 7/1/2009 -0400, you wrote:

Dear Dr. Hammond: The Library Rules of Behavior are posted at the building's entrance.

The no sleeping statement is the second item on the list.

Informing patrons of this rule is actually the most effective tool we have for keeping the library from becoming a day shelter.

I am sorry you are displeased with this, but I am sure you understand that the library staff must and will apply policies in an equitable manner to all patrons.

Sincerely, Ed Sheary

From: hammondmv@netzero.netSent:

Wed 7/1/2009 1:25 PMTo:

Cc: (security guard at the downtown Buncombe Library):

Subject: query fm dr. hammondMarsha V. Hammond, PhD Clinical Psychologist,

RE: security guard Steve Fazio shaking me out of my chair as I was resting my head on my laptop

July 1, 2009Dear Mr. Sheary:

I seldom come into the Buncombe library downtown. I do find the reference librarians to be helpful and the environment conducive to work when I am downtown w/ my laptop.

In my undergraduate college days, I would, when tired, lay my head down on my books in the library so as to awaken refreshed to continue my task.

RE: this matter, Mr. Sheary, I would like to know why the security guard, Steve Fazio, shook my chair and demanded 'no sleeping in the library' today, July 1, at approximately 12 noon.

I can understand that the library system does not want loiters laying on the floors but I really believe that if people want to lay their heads down on their books or purse that they should be left alone.

I would, accordingly, like a copy of the library policy pertaining to 'sleeping' and what constitutes 'sleeping.'

I can imagine that many homeless people who get chased out of The Mission less than a mile down the street, or the Salvation Army, or any other homeless shelter, feel intimidated by someone shaking their chair.

I would like an explanation, please, Mr. Sheary. Forward this to anyone you like. Marsha V. Hammond, PhD


Blogger Barbara said...

That's okay, you are not the only whose civil rights are being violated and your having your health being jeopardized.

I was in the north Asheville library typing a letter this past week and there was only me and this tall fellow in his 40s on the computers.
I was done with the letter I was writing, but did not delete it, as I wanted to be sure it came out okay.
I had to walk to the reference desk to get the letter off the printer and had about 15 minutes left on the computer I was using.
When I came back only a few minutes later, my computer not only had been turned off, but also, my mouse was missing so I couldn't even sign back into it.

I went and got one of the librarians, the tall fellow with long grey hair and glasses who's in his 50s I guess and he signed me back on, but I said to the guy who stole my mouse off my computer, "why did you do that anyway?" There was other computers he could of taken a mouse off of, that had NO ONE on it, as we were the only ones on the computers at that time of night, which was 7:30 pm and it was quite dark outside the library.
The guy who stole my mouse said, "oh, it's no biggie! and acted like he'd done NO wrong whatsoever.

well, it WAS wrong, in the first place, it's an invasion of my privacy because I had my e-mail open too, which he could of well looked at, but he kept insisting he was "cool" and I was a jerk for even mentioning it.
Well, I was having no part of it, I was not talking in a loud voice, but I was quite upset someone would do that to me, and I know when my rights are being violated and I said to him, "that took a lot of nerve to do something like that, you had NO right to come on my computer", and he did not!

Then the guy who stole my mouse off my computer said, "Oh, I'm done talking to you!"... like I was supposed to just put up and shut up!

I said to him, "No, that was totally wrong for you to do that to me and mess with the computer I was working on", and then the guy states, "If you keep talking to me, I'm going to call the police!"

I couldn't believe it! To make matters worse, the librarian Ron comes over and says to me, Well, if you TWO don't stop talking, I'm going to kick you BOTH out of the library!
He did not stick up for me at all, and claimed it was OK that the guy had messed with my computer and he was a "good guy"! OH, PLEASE, GIVE ME A BREAK! There are so many weirdos in Asheville now that claim to be OK, it's become KNOWN as a weird place to live!
I'm a woman and it's dark out and the last thing I need is to be out on the street with someone so creepy that not only they think it's OK to shut down your computer and possibly read everything you've been writing on it, but also, to be put out in the dark with someone who thinks they got that much RIGHT to violate a woman's rights.
There was personal stuff on that computer that I sure did not want any stranger to read, but that's par for the course in the Buncombe County Library system!
He even shut my computer off. Instead of the librarian sticking up for me, instead he claimed that the guy had really not done anything really wrong!

Hey, they should of kicked THAT guy out and called the police on HIM!

Geez. don't DARE write anything of any personal nature on the computers at the Buncombe county libraries!

This library system needs a total housecleaning, imho! They do SO much stuff to violate people's rights, it's like a crack house in there!

2:04 AM  

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