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Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
Charles Town, West Virginia
April 4, 2018     Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
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April 4, 2018

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PAGE B8 Wednesday, April 4, 2018 LIFE SPIRIT of ,IEFFERSON and FARMER'S ADVOCATE I ) MARCELLA GENZ s rl: A library is a symbol of democ- racy in the United States. Librar- ies are a composite of a communi- ty, serving all, no matter what so- cial class, race, religion, ethnic or- igin, etc. While this is what makes a library a great institution, serving the the common good, the fact that a library welcomes everyone means that some people whose circles are narrow are uncomfortable with the wide and diverse swath of humanity that frequent the library. The Charles Town Library, cen- trally located in the "urban" core of a rural county frequently provides space for two stigmatized groups: the homeless and those with mental health issues. These patrons are not without their challenges, but most of the time, it is not possible to dis- tinguish the homeless or those with mental health issues from others who are using the reading room for study or other quiet activities. But every now and again, a patron who mental health problems acts up, often involuntarily. One day last week, a patron at the library was browsing the Inter- net. At times, he mumbled loudly, but would always quiet down when asked. When another patron report- edhe was looking at "naked wom- en' on the Internet, I immediately looked at his screen. He was view- ing Pinterest photographs of clothed women - the sort of photographs used in mainstream advertising. Be- cause the patron was not in viola- tion of any rule or law, I could not ask him to stop looking at the Pin- terest site or to leave the library. ]r]rp A public library teaches many lessons in compassion and tolerance. A patron with her young son had a wonderful opportunity to teach him about mental health issues and the problems these people face. Instead she taught her son the lessons that anyone different should be "locked up" and that anyone who can tolerate aberrant behavior is "useless." This intolerance of those who are different can be a very dangerous attitude iiiiii!iiiiii ii~ililiiiiii~ iiiiiiiiiii:i He was then accused of talking about rape and the objecting patron demanded that I call the police im- mediately. When I tried to explain to the patron that I needed more in- formation before I would call the police, she called me "useless," and stopped listening to what I was try- ing to tell her. Once this patron left, she contacted the police herself. The police responded to her complaint; an officer came to the library, qui- etly looked around and left. We have had potentially danger- ous disruptions in this library before and I have called the police when necessary. I take the safety of our patrons and my staff very serious- ly. This patron was not threatening. If his behavior must be labelled, he was merely annoying. I am sorry a patron felt threatened, and that she could not trust the library staff to ensure her safety while protecting the civil rights of another patron. A public library teaches many les- sons in compassion and tolerance. The objecting patron who was with her young son had a wonderful op- portunity to teach him about mental health issues and the problems these people face. Instead she taught her son the lessons that anyone differ- ent should be "locked up" and that anyone who can tolerate aberrant behavior is "useless." This intoler- ance of those who are different can be a very dangerous attitude in this ever-shrinking world. She could have demonstrated first-hand to her son compassion and understanding of those who are having problems, rather than letting her fear get the best of her. Kind- ness was the best approach. It was not a matter for the police. Imagine if the police cited or arrested every- one thought to be annoying. I sus- pect we would all be cited at one time or another. Contrasting with this episode, last week we received a note from Jan Jordan, the manager of the Cold Weather Shelter. She wrote, "Thank you so much for your patience and care for the more vulnerable mem- bers of our community. Many of our clients at the Cold Weather Shelter worry about the days the library is closed because they aren't sure where they will go or how they will stay warm. Thank you for giving them a welcome place to be." One heartwarming thank you balances the deep sadness I feel for those, for whatever the reason, cannot tolerate those who are different. , The library also has a number of special events coming up. A look at " the details Waslfi ton National Poetry Month byonline org:: The library has planned a number 304 of events to celebrate National Po- etry Month. For teens, we are host- ing our Teen Poetry Slam. Contes- tants should register by calling the library or stopping by before April 17. The Teen Poetry Slam will be held at Charles Washington Hall at 7 p.m. April 20. Contestants' poetry must be original, with the first place winner getting $100 and the second place taking home $50. Further in- formation is available upon regis- tration. At the Teen Poetry Slam, we will be serving pizza and soda to fuel our contestants as well as the audience. To prepare for the performance, teens may attend a master class in stage presentation on from 5 to 7 p.m. April 10 at the library. During the master class, teens will have an opportunity to rehearse their poems in a safe environment and receive productive feedback. April 26 is "Poem in Your Pocket Day." Come by the library, pick up a poem and carry it in your pocket all day. Then, when there is a time for a reflective moment, remove from pocket and read. Also for "Poem in Your Pocket Day," Miss Debbie is preparing a special poetry story time at 4 p.m. Artist talk As part of our continuing artist'-. series, we feature this month, two' artists who work in metal: Roselyn Mendez of Even Rose Love Jew- elry of Shepherdstown and Daniel L. Rogers of Steel & Stone, work- ing out of Momingside Studio in Middleway. They will be discuss- ing their work and life in metal and the creation process at 6 p.m. April 12 at the Charles Town Library. - Marcella Genz is the director of the Charles Town Library 0000000000000 Iare teaming up WaL~D~O~ for a Healthy Heart l'~Walk! We you Mayor of Ranson 1990-1986 Jefferson County Commissioner 1966-1998 for Jefferson Counly COMMISSIONER PANll~Y NEEDS / FRUIT COCKTAIL / HAMBURGER ttELPFR / BOX~'D POTATOES ,/STUFFING MIX / CANNED CHICt~N / CHILl WITH BEAN~ v ~ CttlLP WITHOUT B~AN$ / BffF 5"RW ,/J~LLF / SYRUP ,/$LOPPY JOE MIX v" LAUI~RF Z)E/ZRG~NT ~05~T NEEDS ,/SHEETS OF ALL ~lZ~ / BATH TOWELS / WHIR ~OCg~ FOR MEN AN~ WOM~N Locally crafted potter)4 folk basleet:s, jewe r, ] OOhS, T-shifts and much more! 200 E. Washington St. in Charles Town Open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday ALL SHOP PROFITS BENEFIT THE JEFFERSON COUNTY MUSEUM v is proud to sponsor the i .rene. a young ,ema,e t .err,e. m ,s .oo n. for~ forever home. She is brown and cream in color, spayed iiii! and current on all vaccinations. To visit her or any of the ~i::~::::::i~i':~i':l:~'~ i~i i~i :.~i~::i~': ::~i~iiiiiiii other wonderful dogs and cats waiting for homes, please visit the Animal Welfare Society shelter on Old Leetown Pike Road (just west of the county fairgrounds). Our public hours are Wed.-Sat. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. AND Sunday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Closed Mon. & Tues. Visit our website, Facebook, or call us at 304-725-0589. I