Monday, October 18, 2021 9:34 PM
An increase in homeless activity outside the Warsaw City Public Library has worried staff.
The library council discussed the issue on Monday.
The subject came up after Director Ann Zydek said sometime in September there was an attack on a person standing outside the east front door in the early hours of the morning. She said the best the library staff can say is that someone in that area was charging their phone and someone came around the corner and “something happened.”
The Warsaw Police Department asked if the library had records for this period, and they did. A copy of the video was given to WPD.
Zydek said she no longer knew anything.
“So we tried to say, ‘What is the reason why this happened?'” Said Zydek.
The socket in front of the entrance was disconnected.
Things like shopping carts were found upside down in front of the library, Zydek said.
She said the police are aware of the situation and that they have the police about it. She has been told that if anyone is sleeping on the library property, that person may be asked to leave. When they return they will be banned from the property for either 30 days or more.
Board member Tim Keyes raised concerns that someone outside the library could freeze to death as the weather turns colder.
Zydek said there are a number of accommodations in the area. Keyes asked if information about these accommodations could be given to these people. Zydek said library staff had not yet had a chance to speak to anyone who may be sleeping outside of the library at this point. They are not there when the library staff is in the library. Keyes suggested leaving information about the accommodations instead of chasing people away.
Zydek said they could try to connect with the shelters and make them aware of what’s happening in the area and see what the shelters bring back.
She said the library staff have not seen any crowds in the area since they unplugged the electrical outlet near the east front door.
Keyes said he was not opposed to anyone being on the library premises and anyone should be able to use the library. However, he said that people should not be allowed to commit crimes on the property. He said he was bringing the matter up because he didn’t want anyone to be exposed to the elements or commit a crime on the property. He asked if WPD could stop in the library parking lot while they patrolled the area.
Zydek said they have done it in the past. They are aware of this and when they pass the officers are watching what is going on. She also said WPD is aware that the library has free WiFi so people might be in the parking lot. Since the library has free WiFi, they must keep the property safe.
In other areas, Zydek said the library received a sub-grant under the American Rescue Plan Act of $ 23,086.91 to increase the library’s need for digital content.
On September 23, Zydek completed the required documents. Once signed, the library will be able to purchase digital content from Overdrive for $ 15,879.91 and a Promethean Interactive Panel Display Bundle for $ 7,207 for on-site educational programs such as programs or meetings.
The board approved the contract as well as Zydek’s ability to sign the contract online.
The board also approved its 2022 budget. The total budget is $ 3,869,529. The general fund is $ 3,594,529. The rainy day fund is $ 275,000.
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