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Public space, private business

Guilderland Library's ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ tutoring policy; neighboring libraries see less impact

— “I know that there are still tutoring issues at the library,” Wiles said.

Guilderland Library Board of Trustees member Judith Kahn said the library changed its tutoring policy last spring. Previously, private tutors were allowed to sit anywhere in the library, but some patrons complained the tutor and student talking were disturbing.

At first, tutors were designated to one of the libraries larger rooms, but the procedure eventually changed to allow for more leeway.

Tim Wiles said the preferred location for tutoring is in the Guilderland Room, which is a larger room accommodating three to four tutors at a time. When that room is filled, a tutor can reserve one of three individual study rooms. If all those rooms are filled, tutors are allowed in the general area but are asked to try to be quiet to not disturb other patrons.

“The people who are affected by our tutoring policy … we have gotten a lot of flak from people who are not happy,” Kahn said. “The public had this sense of entitlement.”

Tim Wiles said he had just talked to a parent earlier that day about the library’s tutoring procedures. He acknowledged tutoring still happens all over the library, even though rooms are designated for the activity.

“Tutors are usually paid, so it raises the issue for us if you can run your tutoring business here, why can’t you run your financial planning business here, or your insurance sales business here … or whatever it is that you would want to do,” Tim Wiles said. “People would be logically perfectly within their rights.”

He said the library’s policy is if there are people who appear to be in a tutoring relationship, they are made aware study rooms could be reserved.

“We try to get them into a quieter spot if they are bothering their neighbors in the library, but it is often just practically too busy,” he said.

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