October 26th, 2020

City to provide funding for extra security at library main branch


By Kalinowski, Tim on January 15, 2020.

Herald photo by Tim Kalinowski City council approved $90,000 a year in funding to help pay for an additional security guard at the Lethbridge Public Library's Main Branch downtown during Monday's city council meeting.

Tim Kalinowski

Lethbridge Herald

tkalinowski@lethbridgeherald.com

Lethbridge Public Library requested and received $90,000 per year additional funding to pay for a third security guard at the downtown Main library branch from city council during Monday’s public meeting.

The funding will remain in place for the next two years, and helps the library avoid service or hours cuts if forced to fund the third security guard position internally. Library CEO Terra Plato said an increase in incidents at the library over the waning months of 2019 prompted the move to hire more security in response to staff safety concerns.

“We did see an increase in incidents in the last few months in 2019 at the library so that really spurred us to take a really hard look at how our security model was working,” Plato confirmed. “We are following the model of best practices in other public libraries by adding security in this way. In total, we will have three security guards at all times at the Main branch. The $90,000 funds approximately one of those guards, and we will be funding two internally.”

Plato said the last four years at the library have mirrored closely what has been going on in other areas of the downtown, where the effects of the drug crisis have come under intense public scrutiny.

“Like the rest of the city, we continue to see a lot of public drug use and related things in the downtown,” stated Plato. “The problems we see happening in the city are also happening in the library.”

During her public comments to council, Plato said the library was dedicated to public safety and to remaining accessible to all peoples – that it was important to her and her board to avoid “gentrification” of the library commons.

“The public library is open to everybody,” she explained to reporters after. “There is always going to be a diverse clientele in the library, but we do have standards of behaviour. Those guards are really there to ensure those standards of behaviour are upheld and allow us to deal with incidents as they arise.”

Plato said she was grateful to council for acknowledging the library’s need in regards to public safety, and putting additional monies in to ensure its clients and staff can enjoy everything the library has to offer with fewer worries.

“We are very pleased that council found it necessary to fund this, because it means we won’t have to cut back our hours in order to fund the additional security that’s needed.”

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Citi Zen

Yet another wastes of taxpayer money thrown into a bottomless pit. I predict our taxes will nearly double over five years at this rate. Use some common sense to solve this problem, quit throwing our money at it. Make Lethbridge a hostile environment for the druggies, they will disappear.

chinook

IF existing security guards would do their job and NOT be pals with the druggies the problem would be mitigated. Don’t waste tax payers money on more guards – replace the existing security guards (one in particular).
While at it put some rules in place: don’t allow clientele to eat their smelly food anywhere and everywhere in the library – relegate food consumption to the kiosk area!
Kick druggies OUT (you know who they are!!).
Best thing might be to simply replace the current Board of Directors and Manager with people who have a clue and are willing to do something practical about it. btw – the new Bus depot has become another hangout.

ewingbt

The issues at the library were never resolved . . . never . . . hookers, drug dealers and John’s continued to use the Main branch downtown to conduct business and often there was a stream from the SCS to the library. The hooker stroll goes from 9th street, west down 5th avenue to 6th street south. Everyday I see them there, so do not tell me the problem was ever resolved. It wasn’t and I continued to complain as well as refused to renew my membership, even though it was free!

Do not blame the security guards there, blame City of Lethbridge/ library policy that binds their hands and forces them to allow the ‘negative users’ to frequent there.
Many times the security have had to deal with overdoses, needles, abuse by negative users and policies that bind their hands.

It is time Council grew a pair and got tough on the negative users and told them that type behaviour won’t be tolerated. Security doesn’t get paid enough for the job they do there, including threats against them.
The supervisor had a price on his head, spread to negative users for a 40 ounce bottle of vodka to anyone that knocks him down . . . that was over a year ago . . . do not blame security . . . their hands are tied by the City and library management!

ewingbt

There are Criminal Code violations for prostitutes operating around the Library, not to mention the drug dealing. They are not supposed to operating near where children normally frequent such as playgrounds, schools and libraries. And John’s should are picking up hookers in the library parking lot . . . pictures to prove it!

“Obtaining sexual services for consideration”

286.1 (1) Everyone who, in any place, obtains for consideration, or communicates with anyone for the purpose of obtaining for consideration, the sexual services of a person is guilty of

(a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years and a minimum punishment of,

(i) in the case where the offence is committed in a public place, or in any place
open to public view, that is or is next to a park or the grounds of a school or
religious institution or that is or is next to any other place where persons
under the age of 18 can reasonably be expected to be present,
(A) for a first offence, a fine of $2,000, and
(B) for each subsequent offence, a fine of $4,000, or

(ii) in any other case,
(A) for a first offence, a fine of $1,000, and
(B) for each subsequent offence, a fine of $2,000; or