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The Wallingford Public Library Violates the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990

July 22, 2009

If there’s one thing that I cannot tolerate, it’s intolerance. Sadly, there is no institution where intolerance has found a more welcoming home than the Wallingford Public Library in Connecticut. It seems that not everybody is welcome at the library. And while I sometimes share that sentiment as I duck between rows of books to avoid being sighted by people I have stopped talking to, I generally believe that everybody should be welcome at the library despite any disabilities. The Wallingford Public Library Board of Managers, which I assume looks something like the championship table at a Bridge tournament, does not share my belief. Upon reviewing the Americans With Disabilities Act passed by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton, the Code of Conduct which was most recently approved in April 27, 2009 does not allow entry into the library facility for some people, and that stinks.

Also, if you own a cell phone..fuck off.

Also, if you own a cell phone... Fuck off.

No, really. It stinks, as in “people that stink.” That’s actually one of the reasons a person can be denied entry into the library and have library privileges revoked. The Code of Conduct which is posted on their website as well as on one of the foundation columns of the building (perhaps metaphorical) gives a series of reasons to justify having library privileges removed, including smell. I kid you not. Here’s the exact phrase, “Bodily hygiene that is so offensive that it interferes with another person’s use of the library or with the library staff’s performance of its duties.”

"Don't even think about sitting in that chair stinky."

"Don't even think about sitting in that chair, stinky."

Now, if you have the same medical background as I have (none) then you are probably thinking, so what? Well, as it turns out, there are some serious diseases out there which cause a significantly offensive body odor. And the Americans With Disabilities Act has something to say about that.

You see, the ADA of 1990 states the following.

“An individual meets the requirement of ‘being regarded as having such an impairment’ if the individual establishes that he or she has been subjected to an action prohibited under this chapter because of an actual or perceived physical or mental impairment whether or not the impairment limits or is perceived to limit a major life activity.”

Just what kind of action is prohibited under that chapter?

“..excluding or otherwise denying equal jobs or benefits to a qualified individual because of the known disability..”

So let’s say you happen to be a poor victim of Trimethylaminuria, a disease that makes you smell like rotting fish. Yea, that would suck. But, you know what’s worse? A librarian telling you to take a hike and maybe swing by Barnes&Noble next time. But, this isn’t the only kind of circumstance where a person might stink and still be less than 15 minutes removed from a hot shower. The drug Sinemet, which is taken by Parkinson’s Disease patients, causes severe body odor. The list goes on but my willingness to research further doesn’t.

That is why I ask that you email the Wallingford Public Library and let them know that this Code of Conduct needs to change. Rest in peace, Walter Conkite.

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