Millennium Library visitors do not like new security measures that were introduced in the library about a month ago.
On Tuesday more than 200 people participated in "read-in" event on the floor of the main lobby before the security entrance. They were holding signs, read books, and passed around a petition in the area right before mandatory security screening.
Their main goal was to show that the library should be accessible to all people. New security measures may be perceived by residents of the city as a barrier for visiting the library. Millennium Library is a public place, so it should be open to the public.
Recall, changes in the security system came into force on February 25. The decision to check the bags and seize metal objects, weapons and alcohol was taken in connection with numerous incidents that occurred in the library over the past years. Those who refuse to undergo a bag search or be waved down with a screening wand are denied entry.
Jared Olford, one of the people who took part in the "read-in", shared his opinion and said that checking bags violates his confidentiality. He often has a knife for protection, and there may be items in his backpack that he does not like to show to others. For example, prescriptions. The man does not want to feel embarrassed. He also does not want to be publicly humiliated or get into trouble with the law.
Although concern for staff was mentioned by the library management, it is not mentioned as one of the main reasons for the changes.
The protest was organized by Sarah Broad. The woman also started a grassroots community group called Millennium for All. Broad expressed her dissatisfaction with the changes, as they were accepted without discussion with the public. She asked for the cancellation of innovations and said she is going to find funding for extra social safety nets.
In addition to cancelling the new security measures, Broad’s demands also include funding social services and support at the library, meeting with community members starting June 1 and changing library policy to help marginalized people.