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Bag of Snakes Leads to the Creation of a New Rule at a Public Library

This is Peggy. She works at a library. She smiles.

We librarians smile a lot. We're taught to. We're supposed to be friendly and welcoming, no matter what you crazy patrons do. Although we disapprove of you (yes, even you), we never, ever show it.

At librarians' professional conferences, we informally share crazy patron stories. And now Peggy has Goforth of the Madison County Public Library in North Carolina has one to top them all. From the Citizen-Times newspaper:

“Another patron kept noticing the bag and she told us she was going to have to leave because a man’s got a bag with a snake in it,” the library’s interim director and administrative manager. The woman, Goforth remembered, spoke in the singular. “She said, ‘A snake.’”

There was not a singular snake, but, in fact, plural snakes. Many plural snakes:

After approaching the card-carrying library patron, Goforth asked him about the bag. “He said, ‘My pets are harmless. Here, let me show you.’ And he poured them all out on the front desk. They just wriggled everywhere.” [...]
"He probably had a dozen snakes in that bag. They were all different kinds. He had pythons and boas and he was just very proud of his snakes. He had to pick each one up, tell me their names and how long he had them. It was almost like listening to a person talk about their children.”

A dozen snakes.

Dumped right on Peggy's service desk.

This is not the first time that the library staff has told a patron to remove their pets from the library. Or even the first snake:

Goforth said another man with a snake wrapped around his arm had been asked by staff to leave on multiple occasions. After walking back into the library, still with the snake on his arm, he tried to claim his pet was a "seeing-eye snake."
"I just looked at him," Goforth deadpanned. "He looked at me and said, 'I don't think that'll fly, will it.' And I said, 'I don't think so.' He said, "Well, I guess I should take my seeing eye snake back outside."

Anyway, after so many pets have entered the library, Library Director Peggy Goforth asked that the County Board of Commissioners change the rules to prohibit seeing-eye snakes and the like from entering:

Under the new rules, only service dogs “individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability” are allowed inside Madison County libraries. The policy specifically states that all other animal species are excluded, including animals used for “emotional support, well-being, comfort or companionship.”

Although I've never been caught bringing a snake into a library, a rule was created at a library that I worked at as a result of my actions.

-via Dave Barry | Photo: Paul Moon/The News-Record & Sentinel

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