Male washroom space at the Red Deer downtown library is at a premium – two public male washroom stalls for three floors in the building.
As an occasional out of town library user, perhaps once or twice during the week when time permits – I browse the newer books laid out on display on the second floor or catch up with a wide range of ideas in the humanities section. Or I search for fiction, documentary CDs or movies on the first floor.
Public libraries are a rich resource open to everyone; convenient, free and hopefully relaxed; a place of reflection, knowledge and self education. Yet how to make them convenient despite the reported abuse of washroom space?
Libraries set time limits on borrowing their range of resources and a fine if these are in default- why not similarly with washroom space, I initially thought… But then I did not inquire about the level of abuse and what informed discussions might have taken place. One would think informed and enlightened discussion would necessarily take place in library circles. Where else, really, would one immediately assume a broad minded consensus to take place?
Limiting bathroom space, on the other hand, seems punitive for legitimate library users. How convenient should libraries be to the public, really, since as humans we are holistic, not purely intellectual or cognitive beings with physical appendices?
Could we be so bound up with our mental faculties that we forget to recognize our physical needs, I wondered and sincerely hoped not. So how would an holistic group of library decision makers continue to resolve an important functional issue?
It will be interesting to see.