After an assault in March on Celia Carroll, head librarian at the Ocean Park Library, the City has decided to increase security throughout the library system.
On June 20 the City Council approved the funding for a full-time security guard at the Ocean Park Branch and part-time guard at the Montana and Fairview branches as part of their adoption of the fiscal year 2006-07 budget.
The City’s Director of Library Systems and City Librarian Greg Mullen, in an interview with the Mirror, stressed the assault on Carroll “was an aberration because thousands of people come in and out all day” from the City’s libraries without incident. “This incident triggered a reevaluation of the security measures not only at the libraries but for all City facilities.” P. Lamont Ewell, City Manager, will be assessing safety needs throughout the City. For Mullen, security is a subject that needs to be continually monitored.
Mullen also mentioned that the City is now in the process of recruiting both full and part-time security guards. Other library security officers have been assigned to the Ocean Park Branch “until the recruitment is completed.” The City is also enhancing the safety features of the Ocean Park site.
Carroll believes full-time security is necessary for the Ocean Park Branch, a total of 48.5 hours per week, “to cover all hours we are open to the public, plus an additional half hour before we open and after we close.” This request was prompted not only because of her assault, but also because she had been involved in other hostile encounters at the branch.
Carroll also mentioned to the Mirror that security concerns at her branch were the result of “deterioration in neighborhood safety” and the fact that there were “more mentally unstable people” coming into the library.
The person who attacked Carroll, Melvin Hardy, spent 12 days in jail and has a legal order to stay away from the library for three years.
Carroll is currently working at the Main Library and will remain there until the library administration has time to “evaluate and assess their staffing” at the Ocean Park Branch.