By Susan Fisher—
Muncie, IN—Beginning November 19, 2020, Muncie Public Library (MPL) will move from its no smoking policy to a more comprehensive smoke and tobacco free policy for all of its facilities. “Our Board of Trustees approved this policy in January of this year,” said MPL Director Akilah S. Nosakhere. “We planned to implement it in early spring, but the plans were sidetracked by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The new policy moves MPL from no smoking within 25 feet of a library building, to a policy that states, in part, “all facilities and grounds of Muncie Public Library are tobacco free. The use of tobacco, tobacco products, and smoking-related products is strictly prohibited in library buildings and vehicles, and on library property.”
“The policy change reflects MPL concern for the health and safety of our employees and our community,” said Nosakhere. “We believe that customers and employees should have the ability to use library resources and to do their jobs effectively without exposure to second-hand smoke,” she said, noting that complaints were received from customers and employees who had to walk through smoke to reach entrance doors, or to use or empty the drop boxes outside the library branches.
The November 19 date for implementation coincides with The Great American Smokeout, an annual event sponsored by the American Cancer Society (ACS). According to the ACS website, it has hosted the Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday of November for more than 40 years. It provides an opportunity for individuals, community groups, businesses, health care providers, and others to encourage people to use the date to make a plan to quit, or plan in advance and initiate a smoking cessation plan on the day of the event. The event challenges people to stop smoking and helps people learn about the many tools they can use to help them quit and stay quit. MPL will have smoking cessation brochures and other helpful ACS resources at the community information tables at all branches for those who are interested.
For more information about the MPL smoke and tobacco free policy, visit the library website at www.munciepubliclibrary.org.