Friday, March 28, 2008

this sounds familiar...

Clint, one of my wonderful readers and the patriarch of a lovely family of People Of the Gun, sent me a link to a news story about a librarian who got fired for acting like a decent human being. It didn't surprise me at all.

One Friday, I was alone at the reference desk for the last hour of the day. Sitting at a computer, directly in my line of vision was Jesse, the homeless guy who looks at porn. He and I were the only ones in the back half of the library. I glanced up and noticed that Jesse had his hand in his lap. I saw him make a small furtive movement. "Oh no, " I thought. "No. fucking. way."

I looked again. Yep.

I marched into the back office to tell the accountant, the only man we have on staff, what was happening. (I'll call him Dick)

"If you don't get out there and do something, I'm going to call the police!"

"So call the police." Dick didn't care.

At this point, the library director (I'll call her, um...Fancy Nisher) scurried out of her office. She looked worried. "Why are you calling the police?" This was right before the recent library levy. I'm sure she was imagining the impact of any bad press.

I told her that Jesse was on the computer, looking at porn and touching himself. She said, "Oh, well, we've all been there, done that," as if dealing with perverts was an acceptable and expected job for librarians. Unbelievable - no one cared!

I was having flashbacks to the time when a skeezy patron wanted us to print out photos of penises for him, under the guise of "research." One librarian was reduced to tears because she was so freaked out. But even though we were all very uncomfortable, Fancy Nisher told us to do it anyway. The freaked out librarian and I refused to go back out into the library. We waited in the breakroom until Fancy Nisher was forced to deal with the patron herself. (And yes, she gave him what he wanted - and no, no one got hurt.)

This time, though, I could feel myself getting very, very angry. It probably showed on my face. I said something (that I can't remember now) to the director that made her leave the safety of her office to go survey the situation.

Fancy Nisher didn't call the police. She didn't tell the pervert to leave. She didn't even ask him to leave the computer area.

She merely asked him if he could "please buckle up his pants."


Weer'd Beard said...

Thanks, Breda, I'm sick to my stomach now.

You gonna call the cops next time?

This guy sounds like nothing but trouble.

Breda said...

Yep - I'm calling the cops next time. Without asking for "permission"

Stingray said...

Depending on the resolution of your security cameras, I would suggest a pleasant and innocent can of air freshener. Just clearing the air around a hygenically challenged patron, right?

pdb said...

Pepper spray. It's not just for faces, is all I'm sayin'.

Ride Fast said...

It's too bad you don't control the network access to each station. You could just cut the bum off.

Better yet, remote control of that computer. You could just kill it and other station he went to.

Oh, and "Dick" needs to grow a spine and deal with intruders in the sanctom of the library.

Gay_Cynic said...

Mwhahah. Beyond the requisite "ewww", a quiet and anonymous tip to the local press seems like it might be in order.

"Local Library provides Porn Haven"

Parents in the hamlet of WeebleBleeble might think twice before allowing even their accompanied children to visit the Weeblebleeble Public Library, where patrons not only browse porn, but pleasure themselves in the internet carousels.

Librarians are not to blame, however, since they are forbidden to call police in cases of public exposure and other instances that might reflect badly on Weeblebleeble Libary, according to anonymous sources.


Somehow, I think the problem would resolve itself. *GRIN*

BobG said...

I think gay cynic has a good idea.

Weer'd Beard said...

Wow that IS a good idea.

That's what I always say to people in Mass about pepper spray. It's classified as a firearm here so needs a permit to carry. I tell them: "Go to Maine or New Hampshire, buy a few cans, and keep it in your purse or pocket. Don't let anybody see it. If you hose anybody down with the stuff if the police file charges against you, just call up every paper within a 200 mile radious and put a spotlight on this dumbass law."

I can't imagine the police NOT being pressured by our gun-hating state legislature for fear that they would have to repeal a beloved gun law.

Christina LMT said...

What is her problem, anyway? How does this pervert have more rights than me? If this were our local library, the security guard would be all over him, escorting him promptly out of the building. Aren't there kids there? I just don't get it.

Alcibiades mczombie said...

You could sneak up behind him with a megaphone, then shout at him to stop browsing pr0n.

Or you could switch to translucent desks. (It may not stop some of the bolder perverts.)

Mark Alger said...

Um, Breda, can you say, "Hostile work environment?" Sure ya can. Can ya say, "Sexual harrassment lawsuit?" Sure ya can.

'N'if'n that don't get a rise outta the twit, demand she surrender her membership card for destruction, 'cause she's outta the club.

I think your resolve for next time is right on the mark.


Anonymous said...

Mark, you beat me to it.

Breda, best words in the world:

"Ma'am, I understand that you've ordered me NOT to call the police on a patron who is breaking library rules and the law, and is creating a hostile work environment for me in violation of city harassment policy. May I have that order in writing, with your signature, right now?"


Jeffrey Quick said...

It seems like management are well-indoctrinated members of the American Library Association, who believe that no form of information should be restricted, even if it leads patrons to public acts of autoeroticism...unless of course the information is being restricted by the Cuban gov't, in which case it's A-OK.

Of course, it's a "public" library, paid for in part by funds looted from the perv's pockets, so arguably he has a "right" to use "his" library as his own personal quarter-booth.

Actually, I think it was handled about as well as it could have been...and you are woman enough to have handled it the same way, repulsive though it might have been. Even most pervs have enough shame to wrap it up when busted.

OTOH, if you were a patron (and thus couldn't be fired for it), it would be nice to be helpful to him and hand him a container of Astroglide filled with Crazy Glue.

My condolences for having had to deal with that.

mattj said...

Maybe you could tell the boss the perv had his "gun" out. SWAT would have been there in 10 min.

rightwingprof said...

I had a student who did that in class. Once.

phlegmfatale said...

ditto what gay cynic said. Perhaps you should use your cell phone to start snapping candid pics, which you could then provide to the press. SRSLY.

I detest the cowardice of your colleagues.

Matt G said...

Looking at porn: legal.

Masturbating: Legal.

Looking at porn in a public library: verging on obscenity, if chidren are around.

Masturbating in public: Illegal.

I'll agree with her that you're not allowed to be offended by the legal content that the pervert looks up. But I'll also agree whole-heartedly with you that your job description does not entail standing by helplessly while some guy lopes his mule in the reading area. Hell, if nothing else, it's just plain unsanitary! Would your supervisor likewise be okay with him performing other bodily excretions that are generally performed in private, in the reading area?

She seems to have gotten her rights and freedoms confused. YOUR rights were being trampled on when he began to Yank His Doodle Dandy in front of you.

"We've all been there..."
What? Called the police? Sure.

Why are you not entitled to be an offended party? You're not a cop. (We're not allowed to be offended, and require a complainant before we charge someone with Disorderly Conduct.)