Local

Brazen vandals target public library

Monday, December 21, 2009

A library in Brazoria County is an unlikely target for vandals. The damage isn't limited to broken glass and graffiti. Someone has gone so far as to urinate on books.

Police have made no arrests in connection with the vandalism. Incidents are apparently getting more brazen and more frequent and library patrons say it must stop.

Inside the Clute library they've been doing lots of cleaning. Authorities say at least one person urinated on dozens of books. That was in September. A custodian didn't discover what happened until the next morning.

"When something like that happens to a book, you have to withdraw it," said Lisa Loranc with the Brazoria County Libraries. "There's no other option."

Library officials say the books had to be thrown out, as many as four dozen books.

"I think it's horrible," said library patron Barbara Toutcheque. "It just shows you where we are in the world today.'

Library visitor Lindsay Spears said, "It's unfortunate for the rest of us who appreciate our library, who use it and use their services."

It's the worst in a string of vandalism incident at the library over the last 18 months. They've replaced the front glass doors four times in the last six months. There's been graffiti on the outside and in. Right out front, workers say they routinely find broken beer bottles and used condoms.

No one has been able to say for sure who is responsible and if any of the incidents are connected, but they also note that there is an intermediate school just a block away. Students do congregate at the library.

Cleaning up costs money. Replacing the 50 or so books costs money. In this economy folks agree, that's what really hurts.

"It detracts from what we could be doing otherwise," Loranc said.

There are no surveillance cameras at the library. The city council voted just last week to approve funding for cameras.

If you have any information which can help investigators catch those responsible for destroying the books or any other vandalism, you can contact the Clute Police Department.

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