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Update: ban-tastic library revokes heinous policy

Earlier this week, In Other Media linked to the story of an Indiana library’s new restrictions on homeless shelter residents’ lending privileges and their cutting shelter children off from borrowing entirely.

The Post-Tribune reports today that a packed house at the Porter County Public Library board of directors’ monthly meeting yesterday saw “the directors unanimously agreed to nix the policy in order to reach an amicable agreement with the county’s shelter directors.”

While they admitted that their decision to limit borrowing privileges to the folks at homeless shelters was “premature,” they didn’t go so far as to say that they pulled the policy because, hey, telling children — homeless children — that they can’t take out library books looks pretty damn bad.

At least library assistant director James Cline had the decency to admit that “library officials probably should have received input from shelter directors prior to implementing the policy.” You think? But he apologized, at least, and Spring Valley Shelter executive director Tom Isakson was rather gracious about the whole thing, saying, “I’m not surprised that in the end those serving Porter County wanted to work collaboratively.”

But the most touching part of the whole thing? The tale of the Knoblock children, who “spent much of the morning and afternoon Wednesday … collecting books and videotapes from neighbors to donate to [the shelter]. Eleven-year-old Taylor led the charge, taking his [siblings] and a wagon with him,” according to the article. “‘I read in the paper that the public library wouldn’t let kids from the homeless shelter check out books anymore,’ Taylor said. ‘I didn’t like that idea, so I started to collect books for Spring Valley to have their own library.'”

Related links:
Check out the Post-Tribune story here