Thursday, April 12, 2007

Wag of the Finger: The Seward Park Library

Many of the branches have free Wi-Fi, which is great since by nature libraries should be quiet and therefore ideal for getting work done.

Not so for the Seward Park branch. At first I was excited to come down to this part of the Lower East Side, even though it's raining cats and trees outside. Inside it was well lit and cozy, kind of like what I imagined NYC libraries to be like when I was a kid. I quickly settled on the third floor, had a nice view of East Broadway and got to work.

About twenety minutes later a security guard came up to me and told me that I had to unplug my laptop. Even though the chord was against the wall, he said someone could trip on it. Incidently, I could count on one hand all the people who weren in the library at that time, and almost all of them were reading the newspaper. I should also add that the library rent-a-cop was about 5'3 and skinny and even with one arm I could probably kick his ass.

I went back down to the first floor, to the "approved" section for laptops and was told that there was one laptop station for plugging in. The security guard and I exchanged words, and I told him exactly how ridiculous the rules were, because I know for a fact other libraries don't force people to sit in special areas just to plug in their laptops.

After all: New York Public Libraries are funded in large part by taxpayer dollars. As a taxpayer, I should be able to log on where ever I feel like. Furthermore, who takes their job as library security guard so seriously that they have to pick on nice girls with shiny new laptops?

Seward Park Library: Our relationship is over. I'm taking my business to the Ottendorfer Branch.

Here is a link to a piece about new Wi-Fi routers which apparently can flood an entire McMansion, plus the neighbors', with a signal.