Radio show host asks for reform at downtown library

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SARASOTA, Fla. - A Sarasota radio host says he is standing up for fellow Downtown residents and business owners, asking for changes at the Selby Public Library.

"It's very dangerous," said Phil Grande, the host of the nationally syndicated radio program, "Phil's Gang."

Grande says the Selby Library resembles a homeless shelter, and it's management isn't doing enough to tackle the issue.

"They do not follow the Mission Statement. They do not follow the Code of Conduct. They throw it out the window," said Grande.

Last week, a homeless individual stabbed another man inside the library.

The Code of Conduct states: Patron conduct, dress, and personal hygiene shall conform to the community standard for public places.

It also prohibits, among other things:

  • Drunk or disorderly conduct
  • Theft, abuse or vandalism of library materials, equipment or property
  • Bare feet and/or being "shirtless"
  • Possession of weapons

We attempted to reach Liz Nolan, the Director of the Selby Library, who is also a Board Member with the Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness. We never heard back.

"She should keep that activism at City Hall. Nor bring it into the library," said Grande.

"If anything, the library director is doing her job. You can't ban anyone from the library," said Michael Barfield, the Chapter Vice President with the ACLU. "It would be more helpful if Phil would focus on efforts to reduce homelessness in our community, rather than throw fuel on a fire."

Grande says he understands it's a public place.

"Anyone can go to the library. It's public, but you have to follow the rules," he said.