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New Kanawha Library policy will limit number, size of personal items

A new Kanawha Library policy will soon limit the number of bags a person can bring into the library. (WCHS/WVAH)

A new Kanawha County Public Library policy will soon limit the number of bags a person can bring into the library.

The policy will apply to each of the 11 libraries throughout the library system and includes all bags, from backpacks to luggage, diaper bags and even carts.

"We have people who have lots of large items. Sometimes it impedes access to the collections to the books or to whatever," Associate Director Toni Blessing said. "We also worry about tripping hazards. Sometimes straps will be in the aisle or someone will try to sit in a chair, and there's an item beside that - makes it difficult."

Blessing said the new policy the library will be adopting is designed to lessen the number and volume of bags being brought in to the facilities.

"We have set a limit of three bags per person, and the total size of the bags can be 24 inches, by 24 inches by 24,” Blessing said.

Joseph Campbell said he spent some time without a home and had to keep much of his belongings on him when he made daily visits to the library.

"I normally only had a backpack or a bag or two at the max with me,” Campbell said.

Now, he comes with just what he needs for the day to use the internet and read and as a familiar place to get a break from the cold.

"Especially if you're going to be out all day in the weather, and it's really cold outside and the temperatures are below 20 or 15 degrees, the cold can be deadly, and it's always good to have someplace to stop in and warm up,” Campbell said.

While this policy will be new to the county, Blessing said this type of policy is not uncommon in other library systems similar in size to Kanawha County.

"The public library is for everyone in the community, and everyone is welcome. We just want everyone to be safe and comfortable,” Blessing said.

There are exceptions to these rules. To learn more about the policy, you can read it in full on kanwahalibrary.org. It will take effect Feb. 1.

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