A couple of weeks ago at Metro Hall, I left the Bookmobile and took a picture of its back end:
Almost immediately the white or Hispanic staffmember (male, glasses, newsboy cap) came out of the van in a huff. “Excuse me?” I tried to ignore him. “Excuse me? That’s the last picture you’re gonna take,” he said.
At this point he was walking right up to me:
“Touch me and you go to jail,” I told him. I’m not gonna touch you, he said. You can’t take my picture, he said. He had a paranoid belief he was visible through the smoked windows (he wasn’t and I told him so). I told him I had every right to take the Bookmobile’s picture on public property. (Actually, I have more rights than that.)
He eventually walked away.
I called the Answerline on the spot and talked to Kelly Buehler, who works in mobile services. She took an incident report, a step I don’t trust because those are used to document (i.e., permanently tar) customers who get out of line with staff. She agreed to talk to staff about de-escalation. She started out claiming she would remind them of the policy on photography, but I got her to accept that what she should be saying is there are no rules about photographing the exterior of libraries (or Bookmobiles).
I later complained to Buehler’s boss Elizabeth Sutter, who thinks even less of me. (All I remember from the one meeting I was begrudgingly allowed to have with her at TRL was her line “Can we wrap this up soon? I’ve got something at 10:30.”)
I gave both these managers a week to fix the problem. They didn’t. So I complained to Jane Pyper.
And here we are today (2014.03.12), where quintessential petit fonctionnaire Dan Peon sends along, via Microsoft Word attachment, the following threatening letter (excerpted, but nothing important elided):
I am sorry you had such an unfortunate incident when you photographed the Bookmobile at the Metro Hall stop. As you state in your E-mail message, it is fine to photograph the exterior of branches and Bookmobiles. In response to this incident, there has been follow up with the Bookmobile staff to explain this kind of photography is allowed, and expectations about customer service have been reviewed.
However, I need to address your response to this incident. Specifically, I am referencing your online Twitter postin about one of the Bookmobile staff and the accompanying derogatory comments.
He means “This cunt from BK2.”
In an E-mail letter I sent to you dated January 2, 2013, I advised you to refrain from making derogatory comments about library staff, and further advised that when making comments about persons who work for the Library, or who use the Library, you must ensure the comments are appropriate and consistent with maintaining a welcoming environment that respects all persons and fosters inclusion and equality. [...]
Further, it is stated, any behaviour that does not support a welcoming environment and/or violates the Rules of Conduct could result in suspension of Library privileges, exclusion from the Library and prosecution.
The language you have used in your Twitter posting describing the Bookmobile staff member is completely inappropriate and unwelcome, and you have not complied with our request to refrain from making derogatory comments about library staff.
If you have not done so already, you must remove immediately the Twitter post and photograph about the Bookmobile staff member. In addition, this letter is to warn you that your inappropriate and derogatory comments about the Bookmobile staff violate the Library’s Rules of Conduct, and that further disregard for the Rules of Conduct may result in exclusion from one or more branches (including the Bookmobile) of the Toronto Public Library and suspension of library privileges for up to one year, or other action as appropriate.
I want to reiterate that you are welcome and encouraged to continue to visit Toronto Public Library and use its many services, and that we recognize your right to make comments about the programs and services provided by the Library. However, these comments have to be consistent with the Library’s policies that maintain a welcoming environment that respects all persons.
In other words, these cunts at the Library, who fall all over themselves about freedom to read and host concerts by bands like Fucked Up, think they have authority over my free-speech rights outside their property. Toronto Public Library: Would you like hypocrisy with your self-checkout?
It’s as though these donkey-raping shit-eaters never watched, let alone learned the lessons of, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut. (What would
Brian Boitano Cathy Raine do?)
A TPL employee left his post to follow me onto city property and threaten me for taking a picture I had every right to take. Yes, I am going to swear at a city employee who threatened me. But what’s the real problem? When off the property, I curse like a sailor and I make managers nervous.
The Toronto Public Library wages a war of attrition against me. And they keep upping the ante: Issuing a threat, inducing me to stop using interlibrary loan, inducing me to stop submitting suggestion forms, pulling staff away from me when I’m having normal conversations with them (that’s happened twice), having a guy stalk over to me right there out in the open, then issuing even more threats. (Apparently involving “prosecution.” Under disclosure, can I get all the records TPL has on me?) It is the Library that is the aggressor.
I reminded Peon – again – of the Streisand Effect and warned him not to write cheques he can’t cash.
Scabrous means scabrous, you dumb cunts.