Lawmakers Postpone Hiring Security Guard For Library

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Checking out books, surfing the web and reading -- all reasons people come to Flower Memorial Library in Watertown.

But with its doors open to everyone seven days a week, it makes security tricky.

That's why library staff have asked city council for an unarmed security guard, which lawmakers approved.

"Now we're at the point of getting the proposal that was acceptable for the city," said Barbara Wheeler, library director.

Library workers asked council members to vote for the lowest bidder, a security firm out of New York City.

On Monday night, the council put off deciding who to hire.

Mayor Jeff Graham says it's not because any council member opposed to the suggested bidder. It's because the council wants more information. 

With cases of theft, fights and even drug deals, workers say a guard would help put a stop to future incidents.

The problems have been handled in the past by a staff of all women.

"My most recent incident with needing to call the police - we had someone who was making an all-female staff feel just a little bit uncomfortable and we didn't know how the reactions were going to be so we decided to let the experts handle it," said  Ashley Pickett, children's librarian.

After all, the library is a big place and its staff can't be everywhere at once.

They say that's why they need an extra pair of eyes to help keep watch.

"Lots of times we have a minimum number of staff on duty, especially the weekends and evenings. So it's very hard to keep watch on all parts of the building when you are actually trying to do your job," said Wheeler.

The city council will again consider hiring a security firm at it's first meeting in October.

Saturday, October 25, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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