The Harris County Public Library (that’s Houston, TX, and surrounding communities) currently has a picture of a barefoot boy on their home page. Considering how libraries have such antipathy to bare feet, what’s going on?
Their main web page is here. The picture is a celebration of the fact that they had 20,000 children sign up for summer reading fun.
[Click for the full-size version.]
It even looks like he’s not the only one barefoot there.
At first I wondered if the situation might be similar to what I saw at the Fairfield County District Library in my lawsuit. In that case, they told me that they had their shoe rule because of the dangers of stuff on the floors, but then, as this picture shows, they had no problem with kids’ bare legs on those selfsame supposedly unsafe floors.
However, obviously, at the Harris County Library they are even letting a small boy go barefoot.
Looking at their Problem Behavior Policy, though, I see that there is no rule against bare feet. Yay! In fact, I love their first two guidelines for dealing with problem behavior:
- Assume that all customers have a legitimate reason for being in the library.
- Be consistent in enforcing behavior standards. Use behavior, not appearance or assumptions based on stereotypes, to determine if action should be taken.
Do you see that? Use behavior, not appearance. Wonderfully refreshing!
And later on they deal with a perfect example of that, for patrons with a body odor:
Any customer, as well as the personal belongings of any customer, emanating an odor (whether its cause is body odor, cologne, perfume, or anything else) constituting a nuisance to other customers may be asked to leave the library until the situation is corrected.
That deals with a real problem that disturbs other patrons, and is not based on appearance or prejudice.
Here’s the larger picture of the boy and his surroundings. I think it
proves that libraries are perfectly capable of running a service without
being a danger to bare feet.
Oh, and did I mention that that is my grand-nephew Thomas? It must be something in the genes.