Behaviour: Show some respect for library users

Chris Spencer is right - there has indeed been disruptive behaviour at Scarborough Library (Scarborough News, May 29). The gents’ toilet on the first floor has been vandalised so many times that it is now permanently locked. Now there is only one toilet for all library-users - clear proof of the presence of hooligan behaviour by a tiny minority at this library.

But Chris’s letter missed the essential point. It is not that library managers are somehow unaware of unruly behaviour on their premises or that their response when it arises is inadequate. Rather, library managers only pay lip-service to controlling antisocial behaviour because they have different priorities.

One day each week, the Reading Room is the venue for a large knitting circle. Far from knitting in silent concentration, there is much hilarity amongst this group of women. And why not? It is clearly a pleasant, companionable gathering. On a different weekday, it is the turn of a genealogical group to commandeer the three computers in the Reading Room. This sounds quite interesting, but unfortunately, some of the volunteers who run this group are equipped with such loud voices that they can probably be heard in Newby!

Last Saturday, the Reading Room was the venue for some sort of model exhibition where there was much loud discussion, accompanied by furniture being moved from one library area to another while some people were trying to read. Perhaps this also was an interesting event - for those attending! But in each of the above cases, the needs of other library users merely hoping to read in peace in the Reading Room have been totally ignored by library management. This pattern recurs week after week.

It seems clear, therefore, that in its headlong rush to transform the library as rapidly as possible into a community centre by accommodating as many different interest-groups as possible on it premises, myopic library managers with their dogmatic Fabian political agenda completely ignore the feelings of their mainstream users.

Another example. For some inexplicable reason, the library “cafe” has been located close to computer-users inside the IT suite. This convivial feature could have been located upstairs in the lobby outside the concert hall, where not only is there more comfortable seating with adjacent tea-making facilities but where pleasant conversation over a cup of coffee would be unlikely to cause any disturbance whatsoever to those downstairs concentrating on internet correspondence.

What next? Morris dancing in the IT suite or five-a-side football in the main library area?

And all in the name of community-building. Ah progress!

Alan Wawn

Scalby Road