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Attendance rising alongside security incidents at Winnipeg Public Library branches: report

A report in front of a city committee reveals attendance is rising at Winnipeg Public Library branches, but so are security incidents.

Data in the report shows over 966,000 visits were logged at all Winnipeg libraries from October 2023 until March 2024. That’s 134,000 more visitors than the same time last year.

The report also notes it may correlate with an increase in safety issues, with 723 incidents reported in that same time frame. Of those, 360 were in 2024 alone, with over half at the Millennium Library.

“Safety and security incidents continue to be concerning in library branches throughout the city,” the report reads.

“The findings in this second quarterly report paint a picture of continuing incidents but also a significant number of de-escalations.”

The majority involved inappropriate behaviour. Threats, assault and intoxication were among other issues noted.

The report also says community safety hosts helped reduce the severity of incidents by around 77 per cent in the past six months.

“Community Safety Hosts have assisted customers in administering naloxone and/or first aid life-saving measures, and providing a calming influence in the branch so the impact of heightened events are minimized, information or other aid can be provided, or to ensure security is able to remove customers who are unable to regulate their behaviour,” the report reads.

The community safety hosts were among a slew of other security changes added in the wake of a homicide at Millennium Library in December 2022.

The report notes the library continues to work to rebuild customer trust with the help of the hosts, metal detection gates and more contracted security guards.

The full report can be read on the city’s website.

– With files from CTV’s Jeff Keele

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