The Billie Jean King Main Library in Long Beach reopened to visitors Thursday after being closed for roughly a month due to “mental health issues” in and around the facility, city officials said.
In a mayoral forum over the summer, councilmember Suzie Price told city leaders that library staff had been the victims of attacks as Long Beach, like much of the region, deals with increasing homeless problems.
The library was abruptly closed on Sept. 23 and has only offered “to-go” services since then.
“The temporary closure was necessary to address security staffing levels and specialized library staff training,” the City of Long Beach said in a news release. “With Main Library being a high-volume facility in the city’s downtown core, combined with the state of mental health challenges that many are experiencing locally and throughout the country, it was apparent that in order to effectively conduct library business and provide a positive and inspiring environment for all who entered the doors, a new plan needed to be developed to meet the needs of this specific facility.”
The city said a temporary security plan has been identified and will be rolled out over the coming weeks.
The library, located at 200 W. Broadway, will be open for “special operating hours” from Thursday until November 2, at which point the library will resume normal operating hours.
The city insists its public libraries are safe places for the community.
“At times, some who visit the Library may have unresolved trauma, medical issues and mental health challenges that negatively impact other library patrons and staff. The City will continue to develop strategies to manage these isolated events for the peace of mind of all who come through our library doors,” the city said.
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