Indiana: Public Libraries: “Bloomington Library Battles Rising Crime Rate”

Posted on March 25, 2012 by


From the AP (via Fort Wayne Journal Gazette):

Arrests at the Monroe County Public Library in downtown Bloomington have tripled in the past six years, as have the number of reported assaults, The Herald-Times reported. The number of people considered “trespassers” rose from one in 2006 to 14 in the last year, according to Bloomington Police Department data.

Library director Sara Laughlin said the library tries to be a safe and welcoming place for everyone who ends up there — including the smokers, the drinkers and the enraged.

But increased reports of drunkenness and other issues have forced some changes in the library’s environment and policies.

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More changes are coming. Landscaping crews will work to reduce large seating areas where groups gather and to add interactive and educational pieces. Staff also plan to review the library’s Internet policy and consider filtering computers to reduce inappropriate websites, mainly in response to the handful of complaints each year about Internet pornography.

“We have avoided filtering in the past, because we believe in intellectual freedom,” Laughlin said. Instead, the library has chosen in recent years to move computers to highly public areas.

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