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Napping, Swearing, Foul Odors Banned At Newport Beach Libraries

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Senior man with open book sleeping in library armchair
(CBS) Mike Landa
Mike Landa is KNX Newsradio's Orange County Bureau Chief. For more...
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NEWPORT BEACH (CBS) — Make sure you take a nap and a shower before you visit any one of the libraries in Newport Beach this summer.

KNX 1070’s Mike Landa reports the city has laid out tougher rules at all four of its library branches.

The City Council approved a new policy on Tuesday night that allows library staff members to remove any patrons who interfere with other customers, sleep or lounge on library furniture or otherwise act in a disorderly manner.

Among the newly-banned activities on library premises: sitting, sleeping or otherwise occupying furniture in a manner that suggests lounging.

“We have a regular customer who comes in and sleeps and lounges on furniture and tells us, ‘You don’t have the authority to stop me from doing this’,” said Newport Beach Library Services Director Cynthia Cowell. “So now this policy gives us that.”

Under the new policy, patrons can also be asked to leave if they are not wearing shoes, use threatening or abusive language toward library staff, or even for a lack of personal hygiene or “use of perfume or fragrance which produces odors that interfere with other patrons’ use of library facilities or staff members’ ability to perform duties”.

Parking a bicycle or shopping cart anywhere other than a bike rack as well as bringing a sleeping bag or blanket into the building is now also prohibited.

But Cowell denies any suggestion that the policy specifically targets the homeless.

“Who among us hasn’t gone to sleep reading a book? That happens, but it’s people who challenge our authority to tell them they have to stop getting their dirty feet on furniture or sleeping,” said Cowell.

Public support for the new rules — which take effect at Mariners Branch, Balboa Branch, Corona del Mar Branch, as well as the Central Library — remains uneven, with some critics worried that public safety could be jeopardized.

“If somebody needs to take a nap, it’s better that they take a nap in there than on the freeway,” said one patron.

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