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Library Patrons Speak out on JMRL Changes - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Library Patrons Speak out on JMRL Changes

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Starting July 1, people will be allowed to use their cellphones and eat food in all branches of the Jefferson Madison Regional Library. The change is part of the library's five-year plan, and some people aren't too happy about it.

JMRL Director John Halliday says the changes come after a review of several other libraries around the state. He says it's about modernizing and making the library more accessible - but some people don't see it that way.

Roger Adams uses the Gordon Avenue Library twice a week.

"People are using telephones and you know that you hear all about their private lives at the top of their voices sometimes and they don't realize how loud they're being,” said Adams.

Adams also feels patrons should have been asked about the changes.

"I think if they'd had a little survey, putting up signs in the library, 'Hey we're thinking of allowing telephones in the library and what do you think?' I think they would have gotten a lot of comments - 'let's don't do that,'” said Adams.

He isn't alone in his concern.

"When we don't have a designated place for people to eat and use their cellphones, I think it takes away from what people have come to use the library for,” said Judi Rosenburg, another library patron.

Halliday says the changes are about making the library more welcoming.

"The 21st Century public library is more of a community center than just a place to check books in and out,” said Halliday.

He says anyone disturbing others will be asked to leave.

"It'll be just like any other conversation in the library. They'll be asked to quiet down, and then if they don't, staff will take appropriate action,” said Halliday.

But Adams says librarians won't want to play phone police.

“Which of us patrons is going to come up, walk up to that person and say, did you realize that you're being a little too loud, and they're going to say, 'What me? I'm on the telephone.' I fear that's what's going to happen,” said Adams.

Once again all those changes take effect starting July 1. Halliday says the board will review the policies in six months to a year, and if there's a negative reaction, they may consider changes.

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