Security changes may be coming to the Portland Public Library

PORTLAND (WGME) — The director of the Portland Public Library wants the city council to grant its security guards the power to ban people.

Executive director Steve Podgajny says with at least 400,000 people coming in and out of the doors each year, issues pop up.

If an issue escalates to a point where more action is needed, right now they call police, but that’s what Podgajny wants to change.

He wants three of his security guards to be able to issue criminal trespass warnings to library users if the guards believe it’s necessary banning those users from the library for a certain number of days.

Jim Devine is an advocate with the group Homeless Voices for Justice and he says only the police should have that much power.

Devine says many homeless people rely on the library and he’s concerned that the limited resourced they have available to them will be more limited.

But Podgajny says the warnings would be a last resort and the ultimate goal is to keep the environment safe.

Podgajny presented this to the city council last week. They pushed any decisions to next Monday at the earliest.

He says if it goes through the security guards would receive more training.