Tacoma Main Library Blasted for Installing Syringe-Disposal Box

Tacoma Main Library Blasted
for Installing Syringe-Disposal Box

A Tacoma patron expressed shock in a February 12 Tacoma News Tribune letter to the editor at finding a syringe-disposal unit on the walls of library restroom stalls, directly below signs asking people to “deposit used needles in the small box.” Explaining that 19 syringes had been recovered from the boxes since they were installed in early January, Tacoma (Wash.) Public Library Director Susan Odencrantz responded in a February 16 guest editorial, “We would rather see used syringes disposed of in tamper-proof disposal units than in wastepaper baskets, on bathroom floors, in sinks.” She added that surveillance cameras had been placed in restroom entryways to discourage illicit activity.

The explanation did nothing to soothe at least one area resident. “Library policymakers have decided to trade the liberty of society to be free from the effects of rampant drug use for the additional safety of library workers and patrons,” Puyallup resident Carl Snodgrass wrote in a February 21 letter to the News Tribune editor.

Posted March 5, 2001.