Proposed rules for S.F. libraries real page turners

Sex, indecent exposure and drug use in San Francisco public libraries are about to be against the rules. The list of prohibitions is expected to be added today to The City’s guidelines for library use. Though the amendments are not prompted by any particular incident, they are part of a continued effort to ensure libraries are safe, City Librarian Luis Herrera said.

Today, the Library Commission will vote onadopting nine amendments to the existing Guidelines for Library Use, rules last approved by the commission in August 2001.

Among the proposed additions are the following: “Indecent exposure, including but not limited to having sex and/or exhibiting lewd and offensive nakedness is prohibited” and “Possession/illegal use of or intent to sell drugs is prohibited.”

While such behavior has not been tolerated in the past, the amendments are meant to “just ensure we are on solid ground legally,” Herrera said.

Library staff is authorized to issue warnings to violators of the guidelines, and violations could result in a suspension of library privileges, according to the Guidelines for Library Use.

Library Commissioner Larry Kane said the amendments are “pretty much no-brainers,” adding that if people sell drugs or expose themselves they should “be kicked out without any question.” The addition to the guidelines “makes sure there’s no ambiguity there,” he said.

According to one library security official, who wished to remain anonymous, there are incidents of drug use and indecent exposure at the San Francisco Main Library.

“Illegal drugs, that happens all the time. We try to keep it to a minimum. We catch them using drugs in the bathroom. They got new stalls, so it’s pretty easy,” the library security official said. “Sex in the library, we haven’t had one of those in a while,” the official said, but “a couple of months ago” a man was in the library and “took it out,” exposing himself.

Other proposed prohibitions include refusing to leave the library after being suspended, fraudulent use of another person’s library card to reserve use of a computer and using verbal or physical force to stay on a computer when the reserved time expires.

The amendments would join the list of existing prohibitions, including “unreasonable use of rest rooms, including laundering and bathing,” “staring at, following, or photographing library users or staff,” “sleeping or lying on the floor or furniture,” and “strong, pervasive odors, including odors caused by perfume or cologne.”

The San Francisco Main Library and its branch libraries see about 5 million visitors a year.

List of library prohibitions

» Indecent exposure

» Possession, illegal use or intent to sell drugs

» Unreasonable use of restrooms

» Verbal or physical force to stay on library computer

» Sleeping on floor or furniture

» Possessing strong odors, such as perfume or cologne

– Source: San Francisco Public Library

jsabatini@examiner.com


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