2011-01-14 / Letters

Want To Use Library

Dear Editor,

On Thursday, January 6, a verbal agreement was broken between the Far Rockaway staff and some Far Rockaway youth who regularly attend the library. The youth were told they could use the library auditorium to play a card game called Yu-Gi-Oh Mondays and Thursdays from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., in addition to Saturdays for two hours, under the condition they not take up table space in the front portion of the library.

Over the last month as agreed, the youth were meeting regularly. On Thursday, January 6 the youth arrived early to have access to the Library’s auditorium, but a group of adults was having a meeting. Therefore, we waited until 6 p.m.

At this time, we were informed that we would not have access to the auditorium because the time slot allotted to us was given to another group. Not only did the library staff give away the time slot, but allowed us to sit for over an hour before we were told we could not use the space.

When the staff informed us we no longer had use of the space, we politely asked if the tables in front could be used since the space previously reserved for us was occupied by another group. The Assistant Branch Manager was non-responsive, which was interpreted as an “ok.” After about 5 minutes into the game, we were approached by the Assistant Branch Manager, who threatened to call the police if the cards were not put away. We were not loud, nor disruptive. In the past, the Assistant Branch Manager accused us of “taking up space.” Do not the youth of Far Rockaway deserve the same professionalism as any other patron of the library? Our presence was considered “taking up space” and a card game warrants a call to the police? A group of young minorities wanting to do something positive and stay off the streets is considered “taking up space.” The rudeness and unfair treatment of the Far Rockaway Youth was shameful! We are NOT second-class citizens and we are entitled to the same respect as any other citizen. Would the Assistant Branch Manager prefer to see us in the streets “taking up space?”

We are not criminals and should not be treated as such. We ask the support of our community leaders to seriously evaluate this situation.


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