The Antioch Public Library was temporarily closed this weekend after reports of on-site drug use and sex, plus the discovery of pools of blood and bullet casings, though the library is expected to reopen Tuesday with beefed-up security.

Today is the federal holiday Presidents’ Day, and so the Antioch Public Library, like most public libraries nationwide, is closed today. But the Antioch Public Library was unusually closed on Saturday and Sunday this past weekend, and a Bay Area News Group reports the closure was over some fairly shocking recent occurrences there.  

“On Dec. 16, staff found a burning mattress in the parking lot,” the News Group reports, describing one of many incidents. In another incident, they say "On Jan. 13, staff found large amounts of blood pooled on the bathroom floor." There are also reports of patrons using drugs on-site, a bullet casing found on the property, and staff having their cars broken into.  

The News Group describes the latest incident as such: “On. Feb. 16, a couple was discovered having sex in the bathroom and asked to leave. Staff later found them in the library walkway having sex with their clothing removed.”

All of that said, the Chronicle is reporting that the Antioch Library will reopen tomorrow, Tuesday, February 20. The facility has apparently obtained an“emergency contract” for an armed private security guard in addition to their regular security guard, and a patrol car will be assigned to the library's parking lot.

“The library will also be working with Contra Costa Public Works to repair and reinforce the security fence and to upgrade the security camera system,” county librarian Alison McKee in a statement to the Chronicle.

You see, the Antioch Public Library is not operated by the City of Antioch. It’s operated by the Contra Costa County Library system. And the sudden, abruptly announced closure Friday night drew the ire of some Antioch officials.

According to KGO, Antioch Mayor Lamar Hernandez-Thorpe fired off a blistering letter to the Contra Costa County Administrator. “According to our city administration, no one in the City of Antioch, including the police chief, was informed of any safety concerns by Contra Costa County regarding the library," the letter said. “We would have been more than willing to work with the county regarding any safety concerns at the library, considering it serves so many Antioch residents.”

Even before the pandemic, libraries have served the risky need of acting as an unintended social safety net, as they provide public bathrooms and internet access to those who cannot otherwise have these things. These struggles obviously continue, in SF, Antioch, and many other cities. But we’ll see, starting Tuesday, if the new security guard and a police cruiser do anything to help the situation at the Antioch Library.

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Image: Contra Costa County Library via Facebook