The season of change began in the Millennium Library in Winnipeg.
Starting from Monday, February 25, the new security system began its work in the library. Now all visitors need to show not only their library cards but also their bags. In addition, all library visitors will also undergo a manual examination for the detection of metal objects and other prohibited items.
"There was a mix of reactions but overall, people were generally understanding why this was being put in place — not necessarily happy about it, but understanding that we were doing it to improve safety," said Ed Cuddy, manager of library services. "It's been a bit of a surprise to the community because there's not a huge awareness of the kinds of issues we've been dealing with at Millennium Library."
Cuddy added that despite the misunderstanding of people, why checking is needed, everything went smoothly in the first days of the new security measures.
The decision on additional checking was made after the statistics showed an increase in incidents between visitors and between visitors and staff. The thing is that many people consider it normal to bring alcohol and then they behaved inadequately. Some visitors even bring weapons to the library.
"Violent incidents, incidents involving people that are intoxicated or using other substances, where there have been significant threats to staff and security," said Ed Cuddy. "We didn't want people to get the impression that the library is not a safe place. I think it is, but it can be safer."
Children under 13 will not be checked.
If a person has a prohibited item, he must throw it out before entering the library. If he refuses to do this, he will not have access inside.
"We're not trying to prevent anyone from entering the library. We're just trying to prevent these items from coming into the library with people because it does present a risk," Cuddy added.
The library lobby will still be open for everyone who wants to warm up and for people who are waiting for public transport.