Newberg Library was evacuated last month when a person was found using fentanyl in the restroom. The library was then closed on a Thursday afternoon until it could be decontaminated. This was the worst example of the growing problems related to homeless people using the library and surrounding grounds as resting areas. Drugs and paraphernalia have been found inside and outside the library.
Head Librarian, Korie Buerkle, reports the library has been made food-free because of an increase in food and personal belongings left in the library as well as “food smeared all over the place”. Personal grooming that includes toe-nail clippings has been observed. As a result staff have increased their tours of the library and Buerkle has submitted a grant request to add additional surveillance cameras. A fence is also being installed behind the library to limit access to library grounds.
Newberg City Council approved a new Library Code of Conduct at the March 20 city council meeting. The prior code listed 17 conduct guidelines. The new code lists 24 conduct guidelines that include the following:
- No smoking, vaping (including marijuana), or preparation of such substances inside the library,
or within 10 feet of doors or windows.
- No possessing or consuming alcohol or drugs or showing signs of intoxication.
- No disruptive or disorderly conduct, or harassment of patrons or staff. This includes disruptive
activities, language, and internet viewing/listening options.
- No destroying, defacing, or abusing library property.
- No sleeping or loitering.
- No laying or lounging on surfaces or sitting on the floor when not actively browsing shelves,
participating in library programs, or engaging with a child.
- No personal grooming in the library or bathrooms such as bathing, shaving, washing hair, nail clipping, etc.
The Yamhill Advocate spoke with one of the homeless, a man named Terry. Terry ‘commutes’ between Newberg and McMinnville using the Yamhill County bus system. He carries his belongings with him using a wheeled luggage cart and spends his days at the library watching movies or chatting with friends outside. He often spends his nights at the shelter on College Street. After a few days he travels back to Mac for several days. He likes Newberg because we are “friendly”.
The library was full of drug addicts seven years ago and that was the last time I went there. I can only imagine how much worse it is.