We face a tension between legitimate concerns of keeping the library a nice place to work and visit and keeping it a place of opportunity and dialog for all citizens. We don't have social worker training.
By contrast, four days ago I was in Deva, Romania. While walking down the street, I spotted a public library reading room. Curious about Romanian libraries, I stepped in for a look around, hoping I might be able see collections, classification, and talk with staff. It was a small facility: a front room with card catalog and a service desk, a back room with wall stacks and reading tables. As I entered, a library worker stood up and quickly stepped in front of me.
This is a good place to note that I cannot speak Romanian and was wearing dirty work clothes. The staff person asked me a question I did not understand, but the inflection was a lot like "Yes, can we help you?" I responded with my stock "Do you speak English?" No. "Sprechen sie Deutsch?" No. "Parlez-vous Francais?" No.
Not yet quite defeated, I tried to lean in to peer into the reading room. She leaned as well, resolutely blocking my path. I said thanks and left. Final note: I did not see anyone else using the library. Good thing it was so well defended.
A Romanian friend later told me that if I had been well dressed and presented proper papers, they would no doubt have let me in. Another friend, a fairly responsible official in the school district, thought that there was a fairly new central public library, but did not know where it was. She thought she might be able to find out in a day or so. So, are there any happy problems here? Which library is better off?