Librarians request security guards as dangerous incidents continue in Orillia
ORILLIA -- Several times a day, librarians at the Orillia Public Library are spending most of their time de-escalating issues and incidents.
And now, they've had enough.
The Orillia Library put forward a motion to request a security guard as part of the 2021 budget.
"Right now, our staff and the public doesn't feel safe," said CEO Suzanne Campbell.
Campbell says she can recall four times when someone has been found unconscious in the public bathroom; however, they don't have enough staff to continually patrol and deal with the incidents.
Aside from incidents, there are also items found to be harmful to a public space open to all ages.
"There's needles, of course," said Campbell. "We do have a safety needle deposit in our bathroom, and most of them go in there. But, others are found in napkin disposal and on the tops of dispensers."
The illegal drug use and open drinking scratch the tip of the surfaces of issues librarians have been facing. There's drug residue and sometimes, blood left in the bathroom.
"Other boisterous activity like fighting, yelling, and people coming with knives," added Campbell.
While this has been going on for several years, the pandemic has increased the issue. However, the library serves as a place of shelter and leisure for all incomes.
But, Campbell says while they are happy to provide shelter and a place to go for anyone, they feel it's getting abused.
Mayor of Orillia, Steve Clarke, brought up the motion today to city council for the 2021 budget. The library was requesting $75,000 annually to hire a security guard.
Council decided that the city will work with the library to evaluate the security issues and report back to council in 2021 with more options and opportunities.