I’ve seen some odd things in St Albans main library* (in the Maltings shopping precinct) before but nothing as odd as what I’ve just witnessed.
|No dogs except guide dogs sign helpfully not visible|
I popped in briefly over lunch to find the main reading area had a new“installation”. Next to the microfiche readers, a middle aged couple had laid out a large tartan picnic blanket. On the blanket there sat a dog. The dog was clearly not a guide dog, being of a breed not associated with guiding and also being looked after by two people reading normal print books. They were reading normal print books whilst having what I can only describe as an impromptu picnic, complete with a couple of thermos flasks of tea/coffee/other hot beverage.
Now I realise like most of our other cultural assets, libraries are primed for closure in order to save money to pay expensive consultants to justify why it’s okay to close libraries, museums and anything else that might benefit society, but surely things aren’t so desperate that the head count of two (or three if they counted the dog) is necessary, despite plenty of signage to the contrary?
Neither of our kids are particularly fond of dogs, especially the boy after his Christmas mishap with one (wherein I was called “evil”), so it’s a bit counter-productive to let them in where they shouldn’t be in my book, never mind the picnic.
I know libraries have diversified into internet cafe and Blockbusters DVD rental territory in recent years, but I’m struggling to think of any vague justification of allowing pets and picnics to take place. Still, I have emailed Herts Direct with a query and shall update this post with their reply. In case you’re wondering, all the staff were busy dealing with IT issues in the internet cafe section, and I didn’t fancy waiting until there was someone free. And I was slightly afraid in that terribly British way of making a fuss and getting into trouble for complaining.
*including but not limited to: security manhandling drunk tramps out, people taking their trousers off, Baby Rhyme Time going into toddler melt down, people cutting coupons out of magazines and so on.