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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 3, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Library manners

Former safe house now a hardhearted place

What a sad day for Seattle when new library rules allow ousting someone for “the appearance of sleeping” [“Library manners,” Opinion, editorial, June 1].

My first job was with the Seattle Library 50 years ago at a time when eccentrics and street people mixed compatibly with other readers. Over the years I’ve been delighted to observe that the Seattle Library was a kind of safe house for the dispossessed, be they Vietnam vets or the homeless.

Together we were a living, diverse community of readers. Since the new library was built, so uncongenial to readers and attractive to those who look up dating services and war games on the computers, the library has become a cold-eyed and hardhearted place.

I might very likely have “the appearance of sleeping” while meditating on an idea in the library, but I would likely not be ousted because I don’t look like a street person. The homeless woman next to me, perhaps a dreamer and a genius, would be shown the door. Sad, sad, sad!

— Judith Larsen, Bainbridge Island

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