Irwin Library no place for chewing tobacco

Irwin Library patrons apparently are chewing on more than just their pencil erasers while they’re studying these days.

The library staff on Sunday night put up around 10 “No Chewing Tobacco” signs to try to deter patrons from dipping and then leaving it in the facility’s study rooms.

Library patrons who decide to pack their lips with chewing tobacco should do this repulsive activity on their own time and especially not in an indoor facility that thousands of Butler community members filter in and out of on a daily basis.

The reality that the library staff even needed to put up these signs in an indoor community designed to foster a productive learning environment sends grit-sized fiberglass shards of disgust through my gums.

Actually, that might just be remnants from the spilled chewing tobacco that facilities staff members had to clean up.

Forget about the health risks of chewing tobacco (there are numerous). I’m genuinely concerned that a library patron would be so disrespectful that they
would leave it to Butler faculty, staff and students to clean up the mess from their leftover dip.

Brad Matthies, librarian and head of access services, said his staff put the signs up to try to stop the behavior once and for all, despite the joke he’s heard in his discipline that the majority of people don’t read signs.

“I just want the behavior to stop so that the environment is conducive to study, not disgust,” Matthies said.

The library shouldn’t need to—and isn’t going to—spend valuable resources, manpower or time having someone walk around and babysit the adults who patronize it.

“We certainly can’t turn the library into a prison,” Matties said. “We can’t post armed guards.”

University buildings, especially those designed by world-famous architect Minoru Yamasaki, shouldn’t be treated like they are trash receptacles.

Staff members who already have the thankless job of cleaning up after us shouldn’t have the misfortune of having to deal with something so unappetizing.

I’m sure cleaning up spilled chewing tobacco is right on top of our library staff’s priority list, especially considering Matthies said they’re down a night employee.

Yes, it’s probably penciled in right between the citation and interlibrary loan help they just gave you to help you succeed on that last big research paper.


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