The Carrabelle Branch Library should be a true community asset that serves all our residents and visitors of Franklin County. Since the library staff are Franklin County employees and it is a public building that serves all ages including children, we should expect to be treated with respect and given quality service. Until recently, I did not have a library card and did not use the library frequently, even though I have resided in Franklin County for 7+ years. One strong deterrent for me, was going through the cloud of smoke at the entrance to the library every time I did visit.

On Sept. 26, I went to the Carrabelle Branch Library to get a library card. Members of the staff were smoking yet again at the entrance and blowing it across the doorway as I entered. The staff member at the desk asked for my identification and gave me an application to fill out. I sat down directly across from the desk and completed the application; she said that it would take a few minutes to enter all the information in the computer. I started making notes in my portfolio of things I needed to do while I waited.

The staff member came in from outside and sat down in the chair to my left. I asked her if they had the Wall St. Journal and she responded, “I don’t read the news, it is all fake news.” She never answered my question. She was not interested in anything but having a conversation on her cellphone with her attorney which could be heard by anyone in that area of the library. It was awkward and as soon as my library card was ready, I got up and went in search of the books I needed.

As I finished checking out, I turned around to see the same staff member making an obscene gesture behind my back. Catching her off guard, she told me she was just pointing to the clock on the wall.

I went back to the library the morning on Oct. 8 to return books with a former public librarian and library volunteer, the same library staff member was working. As we were standing looking at books in the Florida collection near the desk, the staff member walked by and she said loudly enough as she passed by, to hear a profanity that starts with “A” directed at us. We were shocked, did nothing in response and left the library.

This type of behavior by a Franklin County employee in a public building used by people of all ages including children is unacceptable and a poor reflection on the county. Franklin County should expect more from their employees and the residents and visitors that visit Franklin County’s libraries deserve much better.

Tim Kelleher