Librarian accused of poor people skills sues

Intersection of South State Street and Main Street in Gobles, Michigan (Photo courtesy Google)
Intersection of South State Street and Main Street in Gobles, Michigan (Photo courtesy Google)

GOBLES, Mich. (AP) — A dispute over how a librarian treated visitors has turned into a federal lawsuit in western Michigan.

Shirley Whitt claims she was a victim of discrimination, based on age and other issues, when the Van Buren District Library said it would transfer her from the Gobles branch. She had worked there for more than 20 years.

But the library, west of Kalamazoo, denies any discrimination. It says patrons regularly complained about Whitt’s “poor demeanor” and “unwelcoming attitude.”

Over the years, Whitt was accused of pulling a sucker from a child’s mouth, treating kids harshly and taking a stuffed animal from children.

The library is asking a Grand Rapids federal judge to dismiss the discrimination lawsuit. The 67-year-old Whitt retired in 2011 instead of accepting the transfer.

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