Voices for the Library are appalled by reports that Manchester City Council have banned homeless people from using the city’s main public library. This move by the Council is contrary to everything a public library service stands for and undermines much of the good work library services do in making libraries inclusive places where all are welcome to access information without fear of discrimination.
According to one witness, as reported by The Guardian:
“G4S, acting on the instructions of Manchester city council, are denying access to the public library based on their profiling of homeless people. This type of exclusion is a breach of human rights and is discrimination against vulnerable members of our society.”
If true, and we have no cause to believe that it is not, this is a very disturbing and destructive move by the Council and we urge them to end this vicious and discriminatory ban.
Public libraries offer a service to everyone, without discrimination. This is a fundamental principle of a public library service. Manchester’s abandonment of this principle is a shocking betrayal of this principle. We urge Manchester City Council to not only rescind its ban on the homeless, but to work with them and repair the untold damage this move has caused.
This is not what public libraries are about. Manchester City Council should be ashamed.