Security guards considered for newly renovated Peterborough Public Library
The Peterborough Public Library board is looking at ways it could fund a security guard pilot program after city council refused its request to include funding in the 2018 budget for the project.
According to a report by library CEO Jennifer Jones, the aim is to hire security for evenings and weekends when staff is thin in order to help alleviate some pressure on the library staff so they can focus on their jobs while ensuring the cultural facility is a safe space.
The library has only been open two weeks and already, there are some safety concerns as three security incidents have been reported, and empty beer cans and syringes have been found in the washroom area.
Coun. Gary Baldwin sits on the library board and says perhaps they didn’t do a good enough job of convincing city council the importance of having security at the newly renovated library.
“I think that councillor [Keith] Riel and I both brought the concerns of the board to city council,” said Baldwin. “But I think the jury is still out on whether we should have made a stronger push during budget deliberations.”
To put security matters into perspective, there were just 20 security incidents reported in 2017, but it’s important to note at that time, the library was located at its temporary location in Peterborough Square which has its own security on site — but compare that with 121 reported incidents in 2015 at the old library.
“You can’t compare the new building with the old building and you certainly can’t compare the temporary location at the Peterborough Square with the new facility we’ve got today,” said Baldwin. “What I find interesting is that there was also a recommendation to spend $60,000 for security cameras in the arenas and so perhaps we could have used some of that money towards putting an actual person or persons in the library.”
The library is the most used public building in the city, says Baldwin, but still, council deferred funding at the time — this has left the board to consider other options.
The report suggests the cost of the one-year security pilot program that would see guards work evenings and weekends would cost $25,000. The library says they have some reserve funds available if the board approves that direction.
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