New security measures are in place, not at an airport or sensitive government office, but a public library in Iowa. Diane Herzog is interim director at the Council Bluffs library and says vandalism’s been a big problem. She says the library’s in a new building, a beautiful facility, and the vandalism’s been very destructive including carving, burning and writing on walls. New surveillance cameras are part of a 43-thousand-dollar security upgrade at the library. There’s a system of cameras already but they’re adding a dozen more to get better views of inside the library and outside in the parking lot and book drop. Herzog says libraries today use high-tech features that combine electronic checkout with updated security. There’s a marker in the book that’ll ring an alarm if it’s stolen, like a store’s shoplifting system, and the cameras show the parking lot as well as “nooks and crannies” inside. Librarians think the vandals are schoolkids, mostly junior-high students, who’ve found the library a popular hangout but damage furnishings and steal property from the library and its other patrons. She says the public likes it that there’s surveillance in and outside the library, for their safety and the security of their property. Herzog says the city prosecuted four suspects a couple months ago, 13- and 14-year-old kids who confessed to acts of vandalism in the library. Herzog says the best security is people — library patrons and neighbors who watch for misbehavior in the outside the public library. The cost of the new security measures won’t be borne by taxpayers — it’s all paid by the Council Bluffs Library Foundation.
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