Millennium Library patrons voice concerns about new security measures

Some Millennium Library patrons are concerned about the new security measures in place at the downtown facility.

A group met at the University of Winnipeg Thursday to brainstorm alternatives to the new measures, which they said were implemented without community consultation.

“We’re hoping to hear some answers tonight about why they were enacted and how we can get them removed,” said John Samson, a library patron who co-organized the meeting.

As of last month, security guards at the library started checking bags and using metal detector wands to look for banned items, like alcohol or weapons, before patrons are allowed inside.

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Ed Cuddy, the manager of library services spoke at the meeting. He said incidents at the library involving weapons, intoxication, and irrational behavior have gone up by 75 per cent since 2013.

Cuddy added that police are called to the library every day and it puts stress on library employees.

“So we met with all of the staff and said, ‘Tell us openly what’s going on.’ I lost sleep that week when we talked to staff because of what I was hearing. That led us to seriously consider working with the police and implementing the screening.”

Cuddy told CTV News that since the new security measures were put in place, staff have told him the library is quieter.

He said one staff member told him hse feels like a huge weight has been lifted off her shoulders.

Meanwhile the concerned patrons say a safer city is achieved when root causes of violence such addiction are addressed.