A prompt response to my concern, from Boulder Public Library


By Max R. Weller

Yesterday, I submitted this question / comment to the BPL website:

How can I donate a few dozen bars of deodorant soap to be given out to the stinkier patrons of BPL? I’m sitting across from one of ’em right now, and his bad odor is distracting me. (In fact, I lost a couple of games of online chess because of it.)

Today, I found this anonymous e-mail response awaiting me:

Thanks for emailing us. If you have a problem with any other patron (including bad smells), please let a staff person know and we will speak discreetly to the other person, asking them to leave if necessary, without alerting them that it was you who complained.

Library Staff

Before going to library staff — whoever you might be — I’m in the habit of making some pointed remarks to the person exhibiting bad behavior (and a lack of personal hygiene certainly falls into that category). In this case, the stinker left shortly after I made my online complaint.

Seems to me that “asking them to leave if necessary” is an impotent measure, which only serves to move the problem on to some other venue where it will also be unwelcome. Hence, my proactive offer to provide the means whereby the stinker in question can deal directly with the hygiene issue:


I realize that the American Library Association has expressed concern about Poor and/or Homeless Library Patrons, but I’ve been visiting the different branches of Boulder Public Library for about 9 years now, since early 2008, and NEVER have I sunk to the level of any of the negative stereotypes we see from the worst-behaved transients in Boulder, CO.

Please, show the vast majority of patrons who are respectful of others some consideration and make deodorant soap for the stinkers a priority!

Read Sweep the trash out of Boulder! from my blog a few years ago . . .


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