Public libraries are increasingly responding to violent and inflammatory speech and targeted attacks on their buildings, workers, and patrons. Over the last two weeks of September, libraries in five cities faced bomb or shooting threats that resulted in canceled events and closures. These incidents also come directly on the heels of widespread intimidation related to censorship in the past year. Thankfully, no one was hurt in these recent threats, but the stress and disruption of service take a toll on library workers and the communities they serve.
Facing such threats to our basic safety can often be traumatic and isolating. The Public Library Association (PLA)—in collaboration with the Urban Libraries Council (ULC) and the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL)—invites all library workers to join a virtual event to reflect and share with public library colleagues across the country. During this event, panelists will participate in a facilitated conversation that explores effective policies and practices to improve safety and security for library staff and patrons, and invites questions and resources to be shared among all attendees.