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Vernon  

Library security beefed up

The Okanagan Regional Library is increasing security at both the Vernon and Kelowna branches due to “an increase in the nature and severity of security incidents,” according to Stephanie Hall, ORL chief executive officer.

“At present, we have instituted a pilot of having a security guard present for every hour we are open and this will extend until May 2018,” Hall said in a recent note to the ORL board of directors.

The overall cost is an estimated $54,000, with just under half being spent in Vernon.

Last January, security personnel were installed in the Vernon branch after two drug overdoses at the library in less than a week. The incidents also caused stress among library staff.

“Most urban libraries do employ full time security, and while we have always had various incidents, we are seeing a spike, particularly in drug-related incidents. The opioid crisis is affecting many service organizations and we are not immune,” Hall said in her note to the board.

Other responses the ORL is pursuing include:

  • additional staff training
  • coordinated community responses
  • improved tracking system to enable better analysis
  • improved occupational health and afety guidelines and protocols.

In an email to Castanet, Hall said : “We've noticed an increase in the number of incidents and want to deal with them in a pro-active way. We'll track the effectiveness of the pilot. We would far rather be spending this money on library services, but a safe and secure environment is a pretty important part of what we do, given our wide-ranging clientele of families, seniors, and various other groups.” 



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