Library director calls for fursuit-related policy review
Library director Janet Nocek of Portland, Connecticut had her work cut out explaining furries to board members tonight after calling a meeting to review the library's behaviour policy, reportedly after fursuited visits to other local libraries raised fears of child enticement.
The piece in the Hartford Courant highlighted concerns about those visiting in disguise, and in particular non-religious use of hoods or masks (forbidden by the library's rules of conduct), which in this case might cause families to mistake fursuiters as official mascot characters.
Update (14 Sep): The issue was raised in a discussion thread started late last month by Henry Dutcher of Enfield. Initial replies were humorous, but the talk got more serious when he mentioned a child took a fursuiter's paw and was "led away by them" (within the library).
When contacted before the meeting, Ms. Nocek expressed no ire towards the fandom's "many creative and playful people", but emphasized a need to "balance everyone's freedom" with the "safety and comfort of our users" — especially young children:
I don't expect that furries are any more of a threat than any other folks.
But it might be possible for someone - whether they be a furry or not - to don a costume and convey the impression that the library has a character visiting.
We need to show that we are prepared to handle such an occurrence.
The library lies just six miles from FurFright, likely to draw around 1500 furries this October.