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Amorality at the library ...

From: domainremoved <Dave>
Date: Fri, 29 Mar 2019 17:32:06 -0700

Dear council members and city manager:

I write to complain about the library. My concern is the amorality — I
think that’s the term.

It starts with the noise. The library is as quiet or as unquiet as its
individual patrons. I am a regular and never, not once, have I seen or
heard any librarian say anything to anyone being loud or otherwise annoying
on behalf of the interests of the people sitting quietly and reading.

There seems to be an unspoken rule that patrons are no longer responsible
for their own behavior. You might as well ask a dog for a responsive
comment on this issue than ask a Menlo Park librarian. The look of
incomprehension in response to my complaint would be the same.

And since we’re talking about behavior, the other day I made an error and
neglected to properly log out of a Chrome laptop that you can check out
from a kiosk in the library. Little did I know that my email account was
open and available to the next user of that particular machine.

That person chose to write me a note from my own account, satirizing a
message I’d sent to two friends under the subject “For your eyes only.”
This person opened that message, read about the confidential book project I
‘m working on, and made a lame attempt at humor to me, followed by a
concerning message that what he may have done was not OK with me. He asked
me if what he did was OK.

The next day, I asked the librarian about this situation. We went to the
kiosk and he determined who had checked out the Chrome laptop at the time
the messages were sent. He did not reveal this person’s name, and I accept
the reasoning for that. But he said he would bring it up at a staff meeting.

Meanwhile, while we were huddled at the kiosk working on the chronology,
the perpetrator was apparently watching. I turned briefly to the reference
desk to look at my computer and found a torn piece of paper there with a
message to me, in pencil, saying that I need not be concerned, that my
password as safe. It was signed with the same phony name used in the first
two messages. The person was there in the room and eavesdropping.

I wrote to the library website with what I’m saying here and was told to I
should cancel my email account. I forgot to log out, so it’s my fault. My
age (70) was not a factor, apparently. Likewise with the crummy
gossamer-like character of Chrome laptops, devices that are bewildering for
anyone who is not a digital native. The library has no recourse, I was
told. No one can approach the perpetrator and tell him that what he did,
while not against the law, was an offense against common decency, that a
person with common decency logs out when coming upon an account mistakenly
left open. Why is this not an option? What would be cause for a lecture on
behavior appropriate in a public library? Is such a concept even
conceivable anymore?

So this specimen, also a regular apparently, haunts the library,
eavesdropping, looking for opportunities, all under the benevolent eye of
the staff, who “have no recourse.” He’s also feeling guilty, otherwise why
the note? My hope is that he avoids trying to assuage it by revealing to me
who he is and reiterating to me that he did not steal my password. I would
not take kindly to that.

I am not happy with this state of affairs, with the library and its laissez
faire policies. I thought you should know. Not that you can or will do
anything about it. Caveat emptor, right? Even in the public library. I’ll
reserve expressing the profanity that this situation richly deserves.

Dave Boyce, resident

Sent from my iPad
Received on Fri Mar 29 2019 - 17:27:36 PDT

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