Chesterton Tribune

Westchester libraries adopt universal no smoking policy

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Following the Town of Chestertonís lead, Westchester Public Library officials adopted a no-smoking policy Thursday.

Effective June 1 the use of tobacco products, including chewing tobacco, will be prohibited in all of the enclosed areas within WPL buildings without exception, the Library Board voted unanimously. This includes the Library Service Center and the Adult Learning Center located there.

Smoking also is banned on the library grounds except for at designated outdoor picnic tables located away from the library entrances.

No one may smoke along any pathway or walkway leading to or from library building entrances or in any of the grassy areas of the property; this is to prevent patrons or employees from having to walk through a cloud of smoke to enter or exit the library, said WPL director Phil Baugher.

Library patrons and employees may smoke in their vehicles parked on library grounds but at their own risk; no additional breaks will be allowed any WPL employee who smokes. Additionally, smokers must dispose of their tobacco remains in the proper containers provided on the grounds.

Employees who donít comply with the new policy will be subject to disciplinary action, and patrons who donít may have their library privileges suspended or be prohibited from visiting library property.

Last month Chesterton adopted a limited smoking ban in all town-owned vehicles, enclosed municipal buildings and within 15 feet of the latter.

Baugher said WPL has numerous patrons who smoke at its building entrances as well as a severe problem with discarded tobacco products on the grounds even though receptacles are provided.

Library Board member Rick Hokanson called the new policy ďa step in the right direction.Ē Added member Drew Rhed, ďItís a work in progress. It would be great if we could eliminate (smoking) but the town couldnít do it. As much as I oppose it and itís not what I want around me, I understand itís peopleís rights.Ē

Baugher said he didnít propose a total smoking ban because ďquitting isnít something thatís necessarily easy for some people.Ē

The new policy will be announced through signage, on the WPL website, its Facebook page, and in a weekly electronic newsletter being offered to patrons.




Posted 4/15/2011