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Dad kicked out of Hackney Central Library for ‘reading too loudly’ to autistic daughter, 5

PUBLISHED: 10:52 04 April 2017 | UPDATED: 17:09 04 April 2017

Adam Marks with his daughter Susan. Picture: Adam Marks

Adam Marks with his daughter Susan. Picture: Adam Marks

Archant

A dad and his five-year-old autistic daughter were kicked out of Hackney Central Library – because he was reading too loudly.

Adam Marks with his daughter Susan. Picture: Adam MarksAdam Marks with his daughter Susan. Picture: Adam Marks

Adam Marks was reading to his daughter Susan in the children’s section on Friday afternoon when he was reprimanded by a security guard for disrupting other library users.

He had been reading one of Susan’s favourite books, about turning frowns upside down, for fewer than 10 minutes.

“It was quite humiliating,” Adam told the Gazette, “but the worst thing is just that it was so daft.

“We were in the children’s section. If I’d been reading in the study section I would have understood it, but why can’t I read to my daughter in the children’s section? The library is for everyone.”

Adam, 37, has to read particularly clearly to Susan due to her autism.

"Why can’t I read to my daughter in the children’s section? The library is for everyone"

Adam Marks

“You have to enunciate because of the way her brain is wired,” he said. “She’s easily distracted by other noises.”

Susan’s condition means she requires extra guidance with reading. But according to her dad, a clerk in the NHS, she loves listening to stories.

“She loves books and especially likes being read to,” he said. But it takes twice as long for her to understand what’s being read out.”

Hackney’s community services boss Cllr Jon Burke said: “It appears a security guard who is a contractor working in the library may have acted-over zealously on this occasion.

“We welcome parents reading to their children in all our libraries and something clearly went wrong in this case.

“We will be making contact with Mr Marks to apologise and hope he and Susan will return to their local library soon.”

Hackney libraries’ terms and conditions state: “Library staff may refuse to loan items and may deny the use of a library to anyone who [...] behaves in a manner which is anti-social or which may disturb other library users.”

The family, who live in Lower Clapton, are regular library-goers – something Adam insists will carry on despite Friday’s incident.

What do you think? E-mail gazette.letters@archant.co.uk.

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