Play Bridge at the Library . . . or NOT

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July 1, 2015

Going through old files I came across a clutch of newspaper stories from 2011 about bridge playing in libraries. The disparity in the way local library authorities “see” playing bridge struck me as amusing and odd.

Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library in Ohio announced in a news release: “The library hosts cards and conversation [so it can’t possible mean duplicate bridge, right?] on Monday.” I love the close of their announcement–“The group plays as many hands as possible and finishes approximately 3:30. As a courtesy to all the players, please do not plan to leave early.”

There’s nothing more irritating in sociable bridge than people who sign up to play and then say they have to leave early for an appointment. Don’t sign up in the first place, I say!

Canasota Public Library in New York, issued this cordial invitation to bridge players–“Open Party Bridge Offered at the Canastota Public Library.” It goes on: “This is bridge for people who already know how to play the game as no lessons will be provided. . . . Everyone is welcome to play. . . . The library is a place of community pride and service and has been offering services to the community since 1896.”

Foothill Library in Yuma AZ, however, is in sharp contrast. A Letter to the Editor of the YumaSun complains that playing bridge at Foothills Library had been ended as “not a suitable function for the library.” Gambling going on! That $2 conation so typical of social bridge clubs to cover prizes was ruled gambling.

Forest Hill Library in California had been the place a fifty-member bridge club met for 43 years! It became homeless when the town levied a $15,000 annual fee for library use. Complained one member, “I was told on Tuesday and they changed the locks on the doors by Wednesday, the day we used to meet.”

South Carolina–to end this summary of library happenings–has good news when it comes to playing bridge. After coping with a law passed in 1802 which “technically outlaws any games with dice or cards”, in 2011, the Legislature approved a bill  making it legal in libraries (as well has private homes) to “play bridge, Parcheesi, Go Fish and other games. . .”

As to bridge and gambling? Now that’s a whole other story. I believe I have stuff around here on that topic as well.

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