Doraville [GA] librarians resign after indecency flap

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports today: The head and assistant librarians for the Doraville Library have resigned after authorities questioned staff response to multiple incidents of indecency among library patrons. Tuesday's resignations came after workers failed to call police when a man was caught masturbating at a computer terminal on June 29. A witness tells police she saw a man masturbating and looking at a girl nearby, but when she reported it to a library employee, the man was told only to "behave." The worker didn't call police. Police arrested 26-year-old registered sex offender Preston Lloyd at a nearby train station. He faces public indecency and indecent exposure charges. Police say workers didn't call police after a previous incident involving a man unzipping his pants at the library. Read more about it at:


CBS Atlanta is asking the tough questions of a former librarian who lost her job over an incident involving a registered sex offender.
Lynn Watanabe was the head librarian at the Doraville Library. Police said Preston Lloyd, a registered sex offender, was sitting at a computer terminal last week masturbating as he stared at a little girl.
According to the police report, library patrons reported it to a librarian, but instead of calling police, that librarian simply told the man to behave himself. Watanabe was that librarian’s boss. Police showed up and arrested Lloyd only after a library patron called 911.

As a former* library staff member who was told to ignore bad (and potentially illegal) behavior from users, I'm glad the other patrons had the decency to call the police.

Librarians are not trained to handle these types of situations, and we never have been. More often than not the reaction of a librarian to something like this is going to be dependent on his or her personality and comfort level with confrontation.

What is even more unclear is exactly what this man was doing and how the subject was brought to the librarian's attention. Sure, he was masturbating, but that doesn't tell us much about how obvious it was (to the librarians, not the patron). Was he rubbing his the outside of his pants and staring at the girl? Was he standing up, unzipped and groping himself? How was the problem communicated to the librarian and by whom? So much rests in the details and, in the end, the problem should have been addressed by someone with appropriate training.

For this reason, all libraries should have some manner of security staff. If a complaint of this type came up at my library it would have been referred to security immediately and they would have been able to take the appropriate action. Simple as that. It's too bad the librarians had to handle this in the first place.

I wonder what the library's policy/procedure is for illegal behaviors. Could be these librarians wanted to do something, but P&P dictated otherwise. Our library likes to give second chances, is very hesitant to "ban" anyone for any length of time, and is inconsistent in how sanctions are applied. Yeah, we're set up for disaster! Thank you, Admin! (and Board)

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