At the July 21, 2008 Kalamazoo City Commission meeting, there was abundant citizen comment regarding a proposed ordinance designed to address security issues at the Kalamazoo Transportation Center. Commissioners approved the ordinance, but prior to voting, they heard dozens of people speak—for and against the measure.
One opponent urged commissioners to think about the challenges and barriers facing some of the people who would be affected by the ordinance’s time restrictions. He commented that for people without permanent housing, there aren’t a lot of options in our town. At “the library,” for example, “their time is limited.” This comment prompted me to clarify a couple of the library’s policies.
As long as visitors are using the library—reading, studying, using library materials or facilities or engaging in library-related activities—and abide by the library’s rules of conduct, there is no time restriction. Two hours of computer use is provided for patrons with a valid library card during any 24-hour period. Individuals without permanent addresses will be issued a free, renewable one-month card if they present a letter from a social service agency stating that he/she is in contact with that agency and resides in Kalamazoo. The library has long-standing, cooperative relationships with agencies such as Ministry with Community, the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission, Housing Resources, Inc. etc. We do our best to provide a welcoming environment for all citizens.