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Staying safe at the public library

Yesterday’s news that a sex offender attending Roosevelt High School had recently been charged with assaulting another victim at school, made parents everywhere cringe. The news is especially unsettling here in Greenwood as The Seattle Times reports that police say that in 2007, Jose Rafael Reyes made sexually inappropriate comments to three young girls in our neighborhood. The girls ranged in age from just 5 to 11 years old. Police say Reyes also was caught with pornography and masturbating inside the Greenwood Public Library.
I spoke with Andra Addison, communications director for the Seattle Public Library, about keeping children safe inside a public library. Addison said all branches of the library adhere to the same rules of conduct.
“We want to maintain the comfort and welcoming atmosphere that all libraries have. And we have (the rules) posted all over the library, so people know what kinds of behavior we expect,” she said. “But libraries, we welcome everyone; we are a public building. We always tell parents you wouldn’t want to leave your child alone in a library anymore than you’d leave them alone in a shopping mall.”
Addison said library patrons are encouraged to report anyone who is breaking one of the rules, which range from littering and making disruptive noises, to offensive touching and indecent exposure.
“I think our staff do the best job they can based on the rules,” Addison said. “We always encourage the public, let staff know if you see someone violating (the rules.)”