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The Anal-Retentive Librarian and I

Or, "How many times can a librarian call the police on me before they stop coming?" 

Current number of times this librarian has been forced by her superior to reverse a discriminatory, limiting  decision regarding my actions: 2
Current number of lies she has told me which were later proven to be a lie: 5 
Current number of Police Officers who have come to see me at the request of the librarian: 13
Current number of times the police have said that she is a pain in the ass to them as well: 2

 Christmas  2007

The librarian installed two stereos in the windows facing the porch where the homeless sleep when it rains.  One played Rap music while the other one played Christmas music all night.  Ostensibly  to discourage them from sleeping there.So she hoped. They all just rapped Christmas songs and then fell asleep.  Too bad she never studied the history of public libraries in America .


  This is the ongoing diary of the rather silly and strained relationship between the newest Lahaina librarian and myself, a 16 year patron of this library.
   When I returned to Maui this April,  I made a  point of walking  up to the new Head librarian's desk and introducing myself as a previous volunteer who had taught classes in origami and painting here for free.     
   I also informned her that when I was asked to give computer classes by the previous  librarian, Caroline, I wrote internet 101, a one page  manual for library computer use for the newbie.
   Her cold ,dead fish response was a harbinger of things to come. 
   Soon after I arrived, I began to bring my Mac into the library, place it on the desk provided for that purpose, using the power strip installed for easy electical access .. One day, the security guard came up to me and said, " You have to unplug it NOW". To which I replied " But I'm in the middle of a back up to my external hard drive and that is not a good thing to do".
     I went to the library check out desk, asked the assistant why I was being told this, and she referred me to the head librarian who then said,  "Because of the high cost of electricity in Maui, there is a NEW policy that TRANSIENTS are not allowed to plug in their computers". I offered to give her a quarter to pay for the 200 watts of electricity it consumes per hour. She would not accept that option and went back, halted the backup,packed it up.
    On the way out I asked the way cool assistant librarian to please give me a copy tof this NEW rule.

   Later that day, I walked in and Cindy gave me a copy of thea rule document dating from 1999, (NEW?) which said things like toasters and hair driers were not allowed.
   The next day i walked in, waited in line for 25 minutes to speak to the Head librarian again, with a copy of the rules in hand. Holding it out,  I asked, " What part of this old rule did I violate?  She replied "  Oh! It wasn't that, it was that you left your computer and that we are not responsible for articles left in the library".
  To which I replied,  " I left to go outside for a moment and could easily see any one messing with my computer through the open doorway".  She had no good answer for that so she turned to the next person in line and began to wait on them.
   I said "Excuse me, but I'm not finished yet, " Would you please give me the email  address of your superior?" She did, I wrote the man in Oahu, and the next day her decision was reversed and I was told I could use the outlet.

 A few weeks later, My friend and master coconut weaver "French Michael" came to visit me from Oahu, staying at my place and accompaning me at my weaving locations. One day I mentioned that there was a  new weaving book in the library with his photo in it.  He had no knowledge of it and  so we got the  writer's name and went to use the library computer to email him and ask him what's up with that?
   We also wrote a letter to Michael's son in Canada.  As I was typing , Michael went to the bathroom in the library and returned in a few minutes.

   The next day when we went to look for a reply, Michael's internet priviledges had been suspended.  A talk with the librartian revealed that because he was not sitting right next to me the entire time I was typing his email, his priviledges were cancelled.  We went directly  to the computers, logged in on my card, wrote another email to her superior and the next day THAT decision was also reversed.

    A few days later I was peacefully reading in the library when a totally drunk man, half asleep in the chair began spitting all over the room and burping loudly. The police were called and he was helped out and his remaining vodka was poured out. Since I was there and the police were handy, the librarian apparently decided it would be a convenient time to  hassle me once more.

  They asked me to stand and remove my "weaponry" with my left hand. I asked them "What if I were left handed?" They ignored that humorous remark.  I removed my four knives (weavers usually have at least 2) slowly with my left hand from my right hand pocket, my shirt pocket, my shoulder bag and gave them, handle first to the officers.. They then walked me outside and handed them back  to me.  I said "She's a real pain in the ass you know".  They agreed, saying that she was also a major pain in the ass for them as well.  I put the knives in my bicycle pannier, returned to the library and finished my reading, smiling at the head librarian all the time.

 November 27, 2007

  It's a rainy day in Lahaina, the library front porch with it's big eaves has become a resting place for the locals and the tourists alike.  I parked my bicycle and trailer on the south side of the library, away from the congestion of the porch and the front door, went for a walk in the rain with my beach umbrella.  I got to Foodland where my repair job on the umbrella failed and I had to fix it. So it took a little longer than I had expected to return to the library.

  When I returned, the security guard, at the direction of the librarian, had already moved my bicycle out to the lawn and was dragging my trailer, a clean clothes bag stuck under the wheel in the mud, trying to get it out to the bicycle.  I stopped him, called him a  thief, told him never to touch my property again and then took the trailer out to the grass by the bicycle.  I asked him if moving it was his idea, and he pointed at the librarian's desk,  indicating that she had given the order.
   I returned to the library a little while later, to write the previous paragraphs,  and was just was about to click the publish button when a police officer came up behind me and asked me to step outside.  I complied and then he told  me that he was there to serve me an official State of Hawai'i document which said:


   It seems that I should have asked permission to park my bicycle under the eaves near the dumpster on the south side, even though many people have been doing this since the library opened in the 50's without such permission.  It is only common sense to put your bike away from the main flow of pedestrian traffic yes? Apparently, the librarian doesn't think so...
  Nor does she seem to think that resting on HER  sidewalk is cool either.
   The previous day,  November 25,  I rode to town in the hot afternoon sun of Lahaina,  parked myself and my bike/trailer combo on the sidewalk leading to the grass and sat down,  took off my shirt and laid my hot sweaty back  on the cool concrete.
The new security guard came up and said "You can't lay down"  "Why not?" I asked.  "Where is the regulation that says that?" 
  After several ignored repetitions of his order not to lay down were ineffective,  he realized he was facing someone more stubborn than himself.  He then went inside and  reported the incident to the librarian, who of course, called the police.  Another officer responded promptly.  (He was the same  officer who said, "Yeah,  she's a pain in the ass for us too". )
He informed me that this time, the Librarian had said that I was blocking the wheelchair access lane, therefore breaking a library rule.
Unfortunately, the wheelchair access lanes are the sidewalks leading to the north and south, not the one I was on which leads  to the west and ends in a drop off, usually a puddle from the sprinklers, a bumpy gravel path, and then the lawn. Definitely not wheelchair material.
  Anyway,  I complied, moved my bike and myself and was having a nice chat with the officer when officer Hodges drove across the grass into the park in his metermaidmobile.
I walked away smiling before he could take his cute little helmet off.
The Finale

   One year has passed, and during that year, Barnes and Noble opened a store a few blocks away,  so I got my reading fix there. And good coffee!
 Most days I sat weaving my baskets on the lawn of the county park, 10 feet from the end of library property, and looking up occasionally to get stinkeye from the librarian at her desk. When she looked up to admire the ocean view, there I was.
The only difference is that now I can once again walk into and use the library.