I yield to no one when it comes to loving good fried chicken — but I strenuously object to the use of my tax dollars to support a very nice place for people to go and have their fried chicken dinners, with all the trimmings, spread out all over a table at the public library.

I like to chat and socialize as much as anyone — but not in a public library, which, in the case of our local library system, defines itself as an “institution established to promote quiet study and the use of library materials.”

I have for some time witnessed variations of both of the above scenarios in one of our library’s branches and brought my experiences to the attention of the library system in a message which started with the observation that “I was raised to think of a library as a place for quiet reading, studying and, a word which may have lost all meaning in this day and time, contemplation. I was also raised to be absolutely appalled at the very thought of bringing my fried chicken lunch into the library.”

I explained that in a recent visit to a branch library near our home, I encountered “a group of young people loudly talking among themselves with fried chicken boxes strewn all over the table.” Members of the staff told me of directives issued by the library system’s office instructed them not to enforce the system’s “no food or drink” policy, which reads as follows:

“Eating and drinking are not permitted in library facilities unless part of a planned reception or for meeting room use.”

It is important to note that the most recent revision of these rules occurred in 2009.

Briefly stated, my concerns were met with the response that while this is now the rule in force, “over the past few years that philosophy has changed.” One must wonder at the lightning speed with which this part of our culture has changed, as six years is, in reality, a mere blip on the screen of history.

With the library system’s tax renewal approaching, members of the public who pay for these very commodious dining facilities should be informed that this is, at least in part, what their tax dollars are supporting and that there does not seem to be much interest in abiding by the library’s own rules on this subject matter.

There was a memorable character in the long-running Broadway hit “The Music Man” by the name of Marian the Librarian who strictly enforced the rule of “QUIET!” in her library. Marian would be appalled at the sight of fried chicken dinners being loudly enjoyed in her library.

Jim George


Baton Rouge