SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- A new county law aims to keep readers from reeking. Libraries in San Luis Obispo County have had their own rules banning offensive body odor since 1994, but the policy became law after the Board of Supervisors last month adopted an ordinance that lets authorities kick out malodorous guests.
Visitors to 14 libraries and a bookmobile also could be asked to leave for fighting, eating, drinking, sleeping, playing games, and printing or viewing illegal materials on library computers.
"The point is to make the library a comfortable, safe place for everyone to use," said Moe McGee, assistant director of the San Luis Obispo City-County Library.
A strict code of conduct, officials argue, is needed to ensure one patron's right to use a public library doesn't infringe on the rights of another.
Yet the law can raise tough questions for librarians, said Irene Macias, Santa Barbara's library services manager.
"What is bad odor?" Macias asked. "A woman who wears a strong perfume? A person who had a garlicky meal?"