Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Why I got kicked out of the public library...

If you read THIS post, you know that I got kicked out of a public library recently, but you don't know why.  If you haven't read that post, please do because some of the guesses that my friends and blog readers have come up with are quite funny!

Let me explain a few comments before I give you the story behind getting kicked out of the library...

Two guesses were that I was chewing gum or drinking Starbucks.  Funny, because I was, in fact, chewing gum, and the person with me did have a travel coffee mug with her.  Another guess had to do with using a laptop, which I also was doing.  Someone else guessed it had to do with unpaid/overdue fines.  I do have some of those.  But, none of these had anything to do with why I got kicked out.

A friend guessed that I brought my dog in a bicycle sidecar.  Somewhere I saw something that made me wonder if bicycle sidecars were a real thing.  I found out that they are real, but perhaps not terribly stable.  I posted a question to my Facebook friends asking if anyone had ever used one, which is what prompted that guess.  Although, can you imagine the site of someone riding a bicycle with a dog in a sidecar through the library? :)

Another friend guessed that I was longboarding between the stacks.  If you don't know, a longboard is a long type of skateboard.  I had recently longboarded about 1/3 of the way to a new job, and had mentioned that to a small group of friends.

Someone else guessed that I was loitering in the children's section.  Um, NO.  Although, the young adult/teen room at this library does have a sign saying something about no one over the age of 18 being in the area or something like that.  I did get asked to leave that area once when I was searching for a poetry book that had been oddly classified as young adult instead of being with the other poetry books in the main part of the library.  But, that is not what got kicked me out either.
30 Vintage Library Catalog Cards by 58andGrace on is the real deal....

I got kicked out of our public library for having a tutoring session there.  I have held tutoring sessions at public libraries for years, and have done so in several different cities.  It never occurred to me that a library would have rules against tutoring there.  I know that most won't allow reservation of private study or meeting rooms for paid tutoring, but every library I've ever asked at has told me, "Of course you can tutor here! It is a public library!"  The only rule is to not use the private rooms for paid activities like tutoring.

I was shocked when my student and I were asked if we were having a tutoring session, and then asked to leave.  The librarian cited a written policy - which they showed us - which states that tutoring in the library does not support the libraries mission to "educate and entertain."  First of all, entertain???  I realize that many libraries do have entertainment focused activities and events, but is that really a necessary part of the mission statement???  Odd...  And, secondly, how does tutoring not support the mission to educate?


Upon further investigation, I found out that not only does that library have a written policy against tutoring on library property, but the county wide library system has a policy against it!  I spent most of last year tutoring a child at a different branch in the same county system, and no one ever told me that I couldn't! In fact, the librarian at that branch celebrated tutoring in the library!

Since we live close to New York City, I searched for any policies that the New York Public Library might have on tutoring on library property.  While the New York Public Library doesn't have any mention of any tutoring policy, it does indicate that such an activity would be allowed as part of library patrons having a right to free speech and free assembly.  New York Public Library, YOU ROCK!

And, there you have it....why I got kicked out of a public library.

  • <--- I can't seem to get that dot to go away.  Odd...


  1. Wow. I'm speechless. That's just... weird. Crazy. Insane. What possible good reasons could they have for that that would outrank common sense? How could tutoring there possibly harm them? It's not like most people make their money from tutoring and are in some way financially undermining them! If anything, tutor and student would be inclined to check out more books and incur more overdue fees! So weird!

  2. That is BIZARRE! I really think you should complain to the library board.

    I'm the substitute librarian at our rural library & we LOVE people to use our space for tutoring. We don't even have private rooms & sometimes tutoring can disturb other activities going on, because it's just 1 room.

    But you know what? WE LOVE the fact that people are working hard to better themselves through education & it's in OUR mission to support that.


  3. Okay what a very weird reason to get kicked out. I can hardly believe that! So much for promoting education....

  4. Wow... that's amazing. Don't now what to say! Are you planning on fighting this? :-)


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