HONOLULU (KHON2) — The state librarian, Stacey Aldrich, mentioned the COVID pandemic has led to disturbing conduct at a number of public libraries throughout the state.
She mentioned some workers and patrons have been verbally abused, folks have pulled knives inside, destroyed laptops, workers vehicles have been keyed or their tires have been slashed.
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“We’ve had stabbings exterior of our libraries, we’ve had like a librarian coming into work with feces smeared on the door,” Aldrich mentioned to the Senate Methods and Means Committee on Thursday, Jan. 13. “We’ve had workers who have been attacked from behind, we had an tried kidnapping at a car parking zone and certainly one of our libraries.”
Aldrich mentioned 11 libraries, particularly, have had safety points within the final yr. These libraries embrace the next: the Hawaii State Library in Honolulu, Ewa Seashore, Kapolei, Liliha, McCully, Waikiki, Library for the blind and print disabled (subsequent to Waikiki), Wahiawa, Kahului, Hilo and Kailua-Kona.
She requested the legislature for $1 million to enhance present safety and add surveillance programs too.
KHON2 spoke to a number of individuals who recurrently go to the library, and so they mentioned they personally didn’t expertise something unhealthy however help the libraries.
“We’re solely right here a sure time of the day; in the event that they’re asking for cash, they want it. I’m positive to verify folks have masks on and that sort of factor, however we’re solely right here within the daytime,” mentioned Waikiki resident Martha Love. “I believe that’s a superb use of cash really.”
“I’m all for funding our libraries, it’s a valuable useful resource to have,” mentioned Morgan Lee, a McCully resident.
Ray Namuo, an Aiea resident, mentioned she visits the state library usually and that there have been many homeless round pre-pandemic and it may have made some folks uncomfortable, however not her.
“In the event that they really feel that this location does warrant that extra funding, then I’m all for it, particularly if it is going to make the library safer for patrons,” she mentioned.
Aldrich mentioned there may be safety at 40 libraries, and a few require two safety guards at locations just like the Hawaii State Library and Kapolei.
“Generally we carry further if having explicit points,” Aldrich mentioned.
Aldrich mentioned the present safety contractor can’t present acceptable staffing and workers should not all the time skilled or expert at interacting with the general public.
“We proceed to have issues with our present safety guard firm,” Aldrich defined. “In six months, we had over 123 incidents the place we didn’t have a safety guard and in a few of our libraries, the place we’ve got to have a safety guard.”
She advised the legislature guards wouldn’t be wanted 24/7 — simply the occasions the library is open — and the surveillance would assist at evening.
“We’ve got talked with comptroller about they’re attempting to really have a look at safety guards for throughout the state to leverage sources as an alternative of every company going out on their very own contracts, and we might be in help of that,” she mentioned.
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Hawaii State Sen. Michelle Kidani mentioned she would observe up with the comptroller on the proposal.