Earlier today I was at the State Library of Ohio. Since I cannot go to the Columbus Metropolitan Library (I refuse to compromise my principles to go there), I am forced to look elsewhere for library services, and the State Library of Ohio is one of the locations I have found that can provide me with access to a wide variety of different books. My (very) local library does not force me to wear shoes, but being rather small, their selection is rather limited and the consortium they belong to also often does not have access to less popular books. Columbus belonged to Interlibrary Loan, so now I have to go to the State Library of Ohio to be able to get those sorts of materials.
But what I mainly want to write about here is how I ended up at the State Library of Ohio. After I lost my lawsuit, I tried finding other libraries I could use. One of them was the Stark County District Library in Canton, Ohio. They didn’t have a shoe rule. Another one was the Worthington Library (which was actually pretty convenient, being right near Columbus). Even better, they shared their catalog system with the Columbus Library, so I could reserve a book, have it shipped to the Worthington Library, and check it out there. I did that for over a year.
But then my magic mojo kicked in. That’s the mojo that makes supposedly rational adults decide they have to make a shoe rule, not because there is a problem, but . . . just because. So now I cannot go there any more either.
I had the same magic mojo kick in at the Stark County District Library, too. In that case, after going there a few times, a guard stopped me. I showed him their Code of Conduct, and he agreed there was no rule against it and he allowed me to stay. Not too long after that, their Board of Trustees passed their own shoe rule. What is really sad about that is that, back in the 1970s they even had a campaign on “Right to Read” that featured bare feet:
Among the promotional techniques employed, two are worth mention; sometimes the simplest idea creates the biggest impact. The simple idea was: feet. Paper feet in gay colors were stuck on walls, door, windows, cupboards, railings, catalogs, and ceilings. Waterproof feet led from the sidewalk to the front door of the Children’s Department. Feet with tennis shoes, horseshoes, shoes for tiny feet and big feet — even bare feet led to books, books, and more books.
And there is even a footnote in that article that says: “The Adult Department still calls attention to library hours with a large, bare foot next to the sign on the front door.” Well, no more.
Isn’t that a really impressive show of power on my part? I can go to a library and, without bothering anybody, force them to change their rules to deal with a non-problem.
Isn’t it great to have that feeling of power? Well, no. No it isn’t.