Recently, I have noticed that there have been quite a few accounts of discriminative activity in and around Malibu. I really didn’t think much of it until I was denied service at our local Malibu branch library solely due to my ethnic background. This isn’t Selma, Ala., in the 1950s, but rather Malibu, Calif., in 1999. I can ride in the front of an MTA bus, but upon entering our local library I instantly become a second class citizen.
The incident in question occurred [one] Friday afternoon. I had called the branch at 12:50 p.m. to reserve a time to access the Internet. I was offered 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m., since I lived nearby I chose the 1 o’clock time. I arrived at the branch 10 minutes after reserving a time, and as soon as I physically entered the branch and identified myself the computer became “unavailable” and I was told that they had given my hour of time to another individual (who was not an individual of color). It should also be noted that no one was on the computer when I entered the branch and the staff did not offer any resolution to this matter, but just indicated that it was his time to use and since the 2 p.m. time had subsequently been booked I was out of luck. Never mind that my name was in the official appointment book for 1 p.m., or that the individual who ultimately used my hour was booked for 11 o’clock. I had followed all of the procedures required to book a time, and once I had physically arrived to use the time I was denied access. Apparently there is very little oversight for the staff of our local branch and in such a supervisory vacuum incidents like this can and do occur.
Hopefully this letter will bring to light what is going on at our local library and hopefully with that knowledge will come change.