The Newport Library is similar to other libraries across the country – they have become a “refuge of last resort” for many homeless Americans down on their luck. Libraries are one of those public institutions who don’t “card” you as you walk in. Especially when it’s windy, rainy, cold or all three. But sometimes homeless visitors exhibit behavior problems that disrupt the atmosphere of libraries – homeless people falling asleep in chairs or couches intended for library patrons and children. Public intoxication is also a problem along with occasional bad attitudes. Being homeless on the street isn’t easy for anyone.
But libraries are starting to push back on the situation in that libraries were never designed to be a drop-in center for the homeless, although some libraries in larger cities have given it the good old college try.
Enter the Newport Library. The library wound up contracting with TCB Security, based in South Beach, to help the library maintain not only good order in and around the building but also the decorum of the facility. Below is a short description of what library staff says are improvements to the experience of both library staff and patrons.
From Monday’s Newport City Council agenda, under “City Manager Reports.”
*Council Update on Library Contract with TCB Security.
TCB security staff began working at the Library on October 16, 2017. Almost immediately
their presence was felt. They were able to quickly stop growing groups of smokers from
smoking on library property. Their regular patrols have almost completely ended the use of
alcohol and other drugs inside and outside the library.
People who use the library as a place to sleep are quickly and kindly reminded that sleeping is not allowed in the library. Library staff have been thanked numerous times by patrons for the “new” atmosphere and we’ve had many people begin using the library again after leaving because they felt it was unsafe. TCB security officers are approachable and quite a few patrons stop to chat with them each day.
City of Newport