Due to unfortunate circumstances, the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library's downtown branch will now close early due to fighting. The library has made the decision to cut its hours short because of safety concerns.
Buffalo & Erie County Public Library Director John Spears released a statement about the change in hours:
In an effort to safeguard library patrons and staff, beginning Friday, March 10, 2023, the downtown Central Library will reduce its open public hours during the week. The Library will now close at 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Unfortunately, incidents at the Central Library have now escalated to the point where we cannot provide the environment that our users expect and deserve. The problems we are experiencing with patrons of all ages, but especially youth, are being seen beyond just the Library, and we hope that these issues can be addressed across the entire community.
We want to be a part of the solution. It is our hope we can soon go back to serving all of the community in a safe space. After much reflection and discussion with administration, Library security, and staff, it was determined this is the best solution to adequately address untenable safety concerns we are seeing throughout the Library until a permanent strategy will allow for a return to our normal hours.
Spears told WIVB that there has been a drastic increase in both the frequency and severity of fights, involving, at times, up to 20 or 30 people. The violent altercations have put both library staff and the public in harms way. Because they have mainly happened on weekday evenings, the library made the tough decision to close early temporarily.
The Library System’s Telephone Support Line will stay open 716-858-8900. Central Library tenants and organizations using meeting rooms are not expected to be impacted. The library will close its doors to the public at 3 pm on weekdays.
It's sad that people, who don't know how to conduct themselves in public, are messing things up for everyone. The library has lots of free resources and many people rely on those.