Richmond librarian calls for heightened security at main branch

Richmond Public Library hours expand
Richmond Public Library at 325 Civic Center Plaza.

Security should be heightened at the Richmond Public Library’s Main Branch due to increasing incidents that are degrading public safety both in and around the facility, a staffer told City Council at Tuesday’s meeting.

Children’s Librarian Sheila Dickinson said she and the storytime families she serves at the library are concerned over an increase in the past six months in incidents of public urination, defecation, drug and alcohol use, verbal intimidation, panhandling, gang activity, vandalism and physical altercations at the Main Library at 325 Civic Center Plaza.

The incidents are happening both inside the library, in the courtyard, and next to the children’s room, Dickinson said.

“These activities have grown exponentially over the last two months and have become overwhelming for the families using the library and the staff working at the library,” Dickinson said.

One resident wrote into the Standard to say that Dickinson and other librarians “work tirelessly to make the Richmond Public Library one of the best institutions in Richmond” and hoped awareness of the problem would lead to action.

Dickinson requested a full-time security guard be assigned just to the Main Library. It wasn’t immediately known whether that request would be fulfilled. Check back for updates.