Bright pink hat banned from library
A library’s ban on young users in hoodies and baseball caps has netted an unlikely suspect – a 78-year-old in a bright pink hat.
Fay Lambert was outraged at being told to remove her beloved headwear as she sat at one of Masterton District Library’s computers this week.
She was so upset she hurled her hat to the floor and, after a senior librarian confirmed the ban, she stormed out.
‘‘I was furious. I pointed at my friend, who was sitting across from me and wearing her hat, and said, ‘What about her?’ ‘‘
She even called the police station to see what would happen if she refused to take her hat off in the library in the future.
‘‘[The officer] said that every establishment has their own rules, and I suggest you follow them,’’ Lambert said.
The library began its hat ban in 2013, a year after the introduction of internet-equipped computers attracted what manager Sandy Green called an ‘‘unsavoury element’’.
Crime shot up, and library staff faced intimidation almost daily, Green said.
‘‘We were getting a lot of complaints. There were kids in hoodies hanging around outside the door and preventing people from getting in, and they were even intimidating people inside.’’
Hats were banned so people could be identified on security cameras. Green said the rule had to be applied across the board, in order for no one group to complain about discrimination.
There was some discretion allowed: cancer patients, or people wearing hats for religious reasons, would be allowed to keep their hats on.
It was the first time Lambert, a regular at the library, had been asked to remove her hat, and she said there was a teenager across the table from her at the time who was wearing a hoodie.
‘‘I was enraged, because it just felt so disempowering.’’
No other libraries in Wairarapa have policies banning hats, and nor does Wellington.
But Green said that, since Masterton’s cameras were installed and hats banned, crime had drastically fallen, and staff and patrons felt much safer.
Some hat-wearing teenagers outside the library supported the ban. Monaro King, 13, said on Wednesday: ‘‘I mean, when you go in there, someone in a hat might steal something and they won’t know who did it.
‘‘I think it’s a good idea.’’
Fay Lambert in her favourite pink hat