OPL asking for $3M to boost security at several branches

By Anil Jhalli

The Ottawa Public Library (OPL) is looking to increase security at libraries across the city, citing an increase in dangerous incidents at several branches.

OPL is asking for $3 million over the next five years to boost the presence of security guards at more branches, and extending full-time security at the Main and Rideau locations.

A June safety and security report presented to the OPL board showcased the rise in dangerous incidents at library branches.

Library workers have been spat on, threatened, physically and verbally attacked, the report stated and since January of 2020, library staff have reported at least six physical or psychological injuries.

During the first quarter of 2023, library staff have reported 176 public incidents, which amounts to almost half of all reported incidents throughout all of 2022. If the trend continues, OPL anticipates the highest incident reporting of the previous five years by the end of 2023, according to the report.

The report said there were 128 reported incidents in 2021 and 363 last year.

Some of OPL branches have had security stationed since 2018. The current security contract expires at the end of 2023.

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