Shady visitors contort purpose of library

July 23, 2010 Commentary Print Print
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Whitney Knight

{jcomments on}When the Keith Leftwich Memorial Library opened its doors in 1972, it was called the Learning Resource Center, and its mission was to offer students and non-students alike the opportunity to read books, study and relax.

Nearly 30 years later, the library’s mission is still the same. According to policy, anyone with a valid college, state or federal ID may be granted access to the library and its materials free of charge.

For well-intentioned students and local citizens, this provides an excellent resource to learn, study and simply unwind with a good book or magazine.

Unfortunately, the library’s open access is drawing seedy individuals to campus who sit for hours and look up pornography or take up the space hard working students and well-meaning community members need.

Every week, it seems at least one library patron, including a registered sex offender last month, is escorted off campus for viewing inappropriate content on the computers.

That an outsider could stroll into our library and look at porn, amongst innocent children and adults, is disgusting.

Also regrettable is that other non-students misuse the computers by idly surfing the Internet, feeding their FarmVille chickens or tweeting about the trivial happenings in their lives.

In 1972, the library’s mission met the time. In 2010, times have changed. The college needs to get serious and tell the space wasters to move along.

OCCC is a higher educational institution, not a cyber café or gathering place for foul individuals to entertain themselves. There are two public libraries within 15 minutes of OCCC.

If these individuals really need to feed their Facebook or YouTube addiction, they should do it there.

The solution is simple: non-students who use OCCC’s recreational facilities now must either pay a fee or purchase a membership.

OCCC should either ban non-students’ use of the library altogether or implement a similar pay system.

Requiring library patrons to pay $5 or $10 fee for a month-long pass probably wouldn’t break anyone’s bank. But it might be enough to deter a person with indecent motives from using our campus as a playground.

 

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