Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Crosby Kemper III: library 'lucky' not to be even less safe than it feels

Posted By on Wed, May 19, 2010 at 11:00 AM

click to enlarge Kemper doesn't sugarcoat the library's woes.
  • Kemper doesn't sugarcoat the library's woes.

With typical candor, Kansas City Public Library CEO Crosby Kemper III tells The Kansas City Star today that its tabulation of recent library security problems is on the money. "We've been lucky that we haven't had a really major incident," he admits.

Kemper cites homeless persons downtown as a contributing factor to what the Star reports is a 59 percent rise from 2008 to 2009 in security incident reports (and projects will be a 52 percent increase this year over last). "It is a population we want to serve," he tells the daily. "At the same time, it is a population with a lot of problems."

Kemper adds, "We can do better than we've been doing." The library board

met yesterday with police to talk strategy, according to the Star.



Despite its glib lead ("Shhhhh! ... Leave your guns

at home," Sara Shepherd writes -- italics hers), there's no

faulting the Star's numbers, which include tallies of various

specific offenses, such as "public display of explicit sexual material

or child pornography" (44 reports so far this year). There's no

disputing the accounting because it comes from the library's own

security database -- something its deputy executive director for

operations, Cheptoo Kositany-Buckner, says is rare among

municipal libraries.

Equally rare is the library CEO who --

refreshingly? ill-advisedly? -- doesn't argue the story's take-away:

Watch your ass at the library, and if you smell something, say

something.

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