Wednesday, August 23, 2023
The library conducted a survey earlier this summer to ask for our community’s help to “Design the library of our dreams.” Thank you to the folks who answered our survey. We learned a lot from the feedback we received, and library staff are currently looking at how we can incorporate recommendations from the survey. Lawrence Public Library is an anchor of the community and should be shaped to meet community needs. While some change takes time, some recommendations require immediate action.
In the survey results, we heard a shared concern from some of our cardholders regarding safety at the library. The well-being of everyone who uses the library is of the highest priority. However, we must be transparent and share that some spaces of the library campus are under jurisdiction other than our own. The lawn and parking garage across from the library, for example, are owned by the City of Lawrence. The library is working with the City to better address disruptive behaviorin these spaces.
We acknowledge Lawrence community members’ concern for the library to remain a safe and respectful environment for all its users. We are taking action to ensure behavior that disturbs others’ use of the library, creates an unsafe environment, impedes the work of library staff, or creates a risk of damage to library property is not permitted.
We are currently taking the following measures to ensure safety at the library:
- Actively reinforcing our Behavior Policy
- Increasing the presence of library security staff inside and outside of the library building during hours of operation
- Working with city leaders and experts
In the spirit of transparency, I want to be clear that this statement is written in response to behavior and safety concerns expressed by our cardholders. Lawrence Public Library aims to uphold the safety of all walks of life who visit the library. We also work to decrease the stigma against activity which may be alarming and shocking in nature caused by persons experiencing substance use disorder, housing insecurity, mental illness, and/or any reason for distress in a public space, but do not condone disruptive, unsafe, and/or illegal behavior.
Lawrence Public Library would like to extend thanks to our community partners who are helping us in our action steps to keep the library a safe place of shared spaces and shared stories: Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, City of Lawrence Homeless Programs Team, Lawrence Parks and Recreation, and the Lawrence Police Department.
We acknowledge safety is an ongoing community conversation, and we are committed to addressing concerns and doing all we can to make our spot downtown feel safe for current and future users of our library. We are here for you, we hear you, and we want to continue to hear from you.
If you experience or witness behavior that is cause for safety concern, please report it to the library as soon as safely possible.
Brad Allen, Library Director