Vernon library signs remind visitors to be 'awake, sober and respectful' - InfoNews

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Vernon library signs remind visitors to be 'awake, sober and respectful'

Vernon Library
Image Credit: Google Street View
July 26, 2017 - 5:30 PM

VERNON - The Vernon Library has posted signs stating people must be “awake, sober and respectful” in response to an increase in inappropriate behaviours.

Stephanie Hall, chief executive director for the Okanagan Regional Library, says they’ve experienced some troubling incidents this year, including two overdoses in one week back in January.

The signs are there to remind visitors not bring in drugs or alcohol, or use washroom facilities for washing hair, clothes or other belongings.

“Everyone is welcome to use the facility, but we have everyone from kids to seniors. It’s a community space,” Hall says.

Sign posted at the Vernon Library
Sign posted at the Vernon Library

The signs aren’t meant to make people feel unwelcome, Hall says, only to let them know what the expectations are.

“A lot of people are legitimately using the library from all walks of life. We’re not here to impede that,” she says.

As part of a strategy to respond to the incidents, library staff have been doing bathroom sweeps and a security guard was hired to patrol the facility. There have not been any more overdose incidents since January.

“We’d rather spend our money on programs, but if a security guard is needed we will have one,” Hall says.

She says incidents have been reduced in recent months.

“Some of that is just making people aware of our code of conduct and needs for our spaces,” she says.

She points out that libraries in urban centres do tend to experience issues on occasion.

In Kamloops, for example, loud speakers pumping classical music were installed near the entrance of the library to deter loitering and inappropriate activities.

Hall says a meeting was held recently with Vernon businesses and community groups to discuss common challenges in the downtown core.

“All around town, people are just finding there are… new behaviours,” she says, noting the fentanyl and overdose epidemic has created new challenges everywhere.

Hall reiterates that the library continues to serve as a safe, welcoming place for all community members.

“Vernon has 20,000 visits a month and they’re mostly all positive,” she says.


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