Does your local library smell as bad as mine?

I recently stopped going to the main branch of my local library because of the smell. You would think that one or two homeless people sitting in chairs by the wall would not smell up the entire library, but they do. They are like those deodorizers you plug into the wall except these homeless people are reodorizers and they have no plugs, which I guess, in a perverse way, makes them "green", but the odor is definitely brown.

Simply put, they smell up the entire library. In the science fiction section the odor makes me think of the rotting flesh of zombies; in the mystery section, the scent of freshly unearthed corpses; and in romance, necrophilia. I literally cannot browse for books without feeling like I am being slowly poisoned with every breath I take.

The EPA, which is very concerned about global warming, shows zero concern for local smelling. OSHA has set no standards regarding the number of unwashed homeless people who can be permitted in a well ventilated room of a certain size without impairing workers' health.

So I have to wonder, what is the situation like in the rest of the country? Are most libraries in America now similarly unpalatable? In the comments section, write us about a library you know, tell us where it is, whether it has "the smell", and how your community deals (or doesn't deal) with it.

Ed Straker is the senior writer at