- Associated Press - Thursday, March 3, 2016

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Security at the downtown Sioux City library could curb mischief from passersby that the location sees on a regular basis.

The Sioux City Journal (https://bit.ly/1njJDO9 ) reports that the City Council approved more than $46,000 for Wilbur Aalfs Library, the city’s main branch, last month so staff could add security.

Council members voted 3-1 to approve the extra funds for the fiscal year starting July 1. Councilman Keith Radig was absent from the meeting.

Mayor Bob Scott gave the dissenting vote, saying the library could explore alternatives such as part-time security.

“I wanted to have (the security), but then all of a sudden it changes into full-time police officers, and that’s not the way I wanted to go,” Scott said.

Scott added that he has received complaints about the library’s poor security.

Library director Betsy Thompson said staff often deals with intoxicated people that respond in a threatening manner. They also encounter people engaging in physical fights or smoking inside.

She says that in some cases, those causing problems are homeless people looking for a warm place to stay.

“It doesn’t matter to us where you slept last night,” she said. “We care that you behave in an appropriate manner in a public building.”

Police Chief Doug Young said his department doesn’t have extra officers to provide security at the library. Thompson said the library will have to be creative with the extra funds in order to give adequate security.

“This isn’t enough to have our own full-blown security officer on duty all 61 hours a week we’re open,” she said.

Thompson said library staff is toying with the ideas of having a police officer make periodic tours through the building and exploring how quickly they can call in officers if an incident occurs.


Information from: Sioux City Journal, https://www.siouxcityjournal.com

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