Page last updated at 12:15 GMT, Saturday, 26 September 2009 13:15 UK

Library 'scissor ban is absurd'

Lorna Watts
Ms Watts thinks libraries should support small businesses

A north London council has apologised after a woman was refused the loan of a pair of scissors in a library because she "might stab a member of staff".

Lorna Watts, 26, a self-employed dressmaker, was turned down at Holborn Library in central London.

She said: "It's ridiculous - public libraries are supposed to be supportive of small businesses."

A spokeswoman for Camden Council, which runs the library, has apologised and said it would investigate the incident.

Ms Watts, from Islington, north London, said: "I asked why I couldn't borrow a pair of scissors and she said, 'they are sharp, you might stab me'.

"I then asked to borrow a guillotine to cut up my leaflets but she refused again - because she said I could hit her over the head with it!"

'Absurd' policy

She added: "It's absurd - there are plenty of heavy books I could have hit her with if I wanted to.

"I hardly look very threatening - it's really sad she could not make a commonsense judgement."

The businesswoman then visited another three libraries in north London but her request was rejected in each of them.

A spokeswoman for the Health and Safety Executive said there was no policy in place on lending sharp implements.

"People know their own workplaces and must carry out their own risk assessments", she said.

"But we do ask workplaces to take a common sense approach.

"This could be a case of someone misinterpreting the rules."

A Camden Council spokeswoman said: "We are sorry we have not reached our usual high standards. We will investigate fully as soon as possible."

Print Sponsor

Council basket ban branded 'mad'
02 Jun 07 |  Essex

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific