The Ballard Library recently installed metal bars on the concrete blocks around the library and Neighborhood Service Center to stop people from loitering.
Kip Roberson, manager of the Ballard Library, said users were consistently complaining about safety and hygiene. “We’ve had camping issues on and off for quite some time. It got to a point where they were using drugs and leaving needles,” he says. “It’s an effort to make the space around the library inviting to everyone.”
Here’s an excerpt from the Seattle Public Library’s notice about the installation:
Patrons and neighbors have expressed concern about security and hygiene issues, citing unattended items left overnight in those areas, smoking, food and beverage waste, feces, urine, and discarded needles, which fall through the grates into the parking garage below. The grates provide natural light and act as ventilation for the garage, so it is important that they remain unobstructed.
The hygiene and safety issues have worsened in the past year, during which time central Ballard has seen a four-fold increase in homelessness, according to a Point in Time count reported in The Seattle Times.
The purpose of the metal work is to limit access to those areas to ensure an outdoor environment that is safe, clean and welcoming to patrons and to passersby.
The Seattle Public Library strives to maintain a welcoming and safe environment for all our patrons. One of our core values is that everyone is welcome at the Library, and our staff at Ballard work hard, and with compassion, to help level the playing field for underserved populations.
Thanks to Lana Ho for posting these photos in the My Ballard Group.