Close to one hundred people gathered in the lobby of the Millennium Library in downtown Winnipeg on Tuesday afternoon.
They held signs, read books, and passed around a petition in the area right before mandatory security screening.
The security measures were put in place Feb. 25 in an attempt to keep library staff and patrons safer following a spate of crime in the area.
The Millennium Library currently screens users who wish to enter, and those who refuse to undergo a bag search or be waved down with a screening wand are denied entry.
Opponents of the enhanced security setup have started a grassroots community group called Millennium for All.
“We don’t ask people to set things outside of their homes, right?” said Sarah Broad, one of the group’s founders, referring to homeless people not being allowed to take their belongings into the library.
Broad and the rest of Millennium for All is calling for the library to stop screening measures, fund and house social services and community supports, and change library services to better meet the needs of marginalized people.
“It just makes sense that if someone is carrying the things that they own that are dear to them then they’re not going to be able to access the library,” Broad says.
They’re also asking library management to meet with the community by June 1 to come up with solutions.