Ever imagine floors of a taxpayer-funded university library being closed to access, except to card-bearers, on the basis of undefined “security concerns?” Floors that have offered access to the intellectually inquisitive, those in need of a tranquil space to think and write, and a place where locals could re-connect; these floors now rendered inaccessible.
Access to the UCSF library was the reason why many of us moved to the Inner Sunset. Slowly but surely, access to the library has been shrinking. The Blumenthal Asian Reading Room, almost a museum, was turned into a computer lab – an incalculable loss. The wonderful second floor – which afforded inspirational vistas, great lighting and wide tables – was transformed into classrooms. All without any community conversation!
Now, using the cover of COVID to implement Naomi Klein-style “Shock Doctrine” tactics, the UCSF administration has decided, without any recent neighborhood input, to bar access to two of the three remaining floors. This was done for “security concerns.” These security concerns can not be released because of “privacy concerns.” Orwell much?
While no actual facts about the real motives are being made public, it is very likely that a very few unhoused individuals, visiting the library generated visual annoyance by their innocuous presence, shocking students from sheltered backgrounds. So, once more we all have to suffer because of the elitist war on the down-and-out.
Systemic racism is part and parcel of the university’s history, so it is no surprise that this long-desired restriction wold be put into place. We need to save neighborhood access!
When the library reopens, anyone without a card will be confined to third-floor cubicles set near a noisy coffee shop.
Harry S. Pariser
Categories: letter to the editor
The UCSF library is a wonderful community asset. What a shame access has been restricted. Hopefully the University will work with community to reopen this beautiful facility to everyone.