Police officials say downtown library branch is draining resources, ‘culture change’ needed – Omaha.com: OMAHA METRO
The image of a library being a quiet place is frankly outdated. Sure, librarians are expected to go into shushing mode with a loud SSSSHHHH to quell any noise and disruptions. Maybe a long time ago, in a galaxy…never mind, the reality is some libraries have to deal with more issue than telling some noisy kids to keep the noise level down. In my branch, we have to deal with a great number of homeless patrons and sometimes we have situations where the police have had to be called.
Now, based on what I’ve read, the impression I got is that the police are called way too many times. What the article doesn’t mention is why are the police being called. I want to give the benefit of the doubt to the library staff that are maintaining a presence throughout the library. Now, the problem could be that staff members are doing the jobs but their patrons are acting beyond the control of the library. Hence, the need of the police. If the police are being called out on every little situation then that needs to change and agree with the article that staffer need to have better control over the library via an action plan.
The ideal situation for a library is not having the problem in the first place but how do you get there? Be proactive and not reactive to situation. Staff members can do a simple walk through the library and get a sense of what is happening. If along the way there is a situation, that librarian can de-escalate a situation by assessing and addressing the problem. By no means does this mean having an encounter which leads to something physical. If there is a threat of violence, police is the immediate action but in lesser interaction the staff has to enforce the code of conduct and the different levels of enforcement.
I would love to work in a library branch where the only issue are patrons not wanting to leave and that is a good thing. The library means a great deal to many people and some see the library as their place of respite. I totally understand that and more than anything I want those patrons to enjoy their experience but not at the cost of others.
Frequent disturbances, rowdy behavior and even reports of sex in the stairwell spurred Omaha police to ask library officials Wednesday to clean up the downtown library.
Police Chief Todd Schmaderer and Capt. Katherine Belcastro-Gonzalez told the Omaha Public Library Board that the branch is draining police resources.