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."



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