LETTER: Plans in place for a safer environment

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May I take this opportunity to respond to comments made by one of your readers about ‘disruptive’ behaviour in Chesterfield library (letters, Derbyshire Times website, Saturday, March 12 - read the letter here).

Chesterfield Library is one of the country’s busiest public libraries and provides a wide range of valuable community services to residents of all ages. I’m sorry your correspondent did not enjoy their recent visit as we want to encourage residents to use our services and have a positive experience while doing so.

Chesterfield is our largest library, based in the middle of the busy town centre and with long opening hours. We are aware those factors can cause issues now and again.

Our staff have had to tackle challenging behaviour at times but are trained specifically in this area and deal with it very well. We also have a duty officer and security officer on duty at all times.

We are an inclusive service, welcoming residents from all walks of life, and never ask anyone to justify the reason for their visit. But we are also aware of the need to make sure all library users enjoy their experience. Over the last 18 months we’ve developed a number of measures to address any problems including:

nA new unacceptable behaviour policy and bans of up to six months;

nWiFi turned off from 9pm on weekdays and at weekends to discourage people gathering outside the building to use it;

nAn improved CCTV system.

Improved partnerships with county drugs teams, the police and PCSO patrols;

nHosting open events in the library to improve community relations.

I hope these measures help in some way to address your concerns. Meanwhile I have noted the comments and have been in touch with our library senior management team. 
So many fantastic things happen at Chesterfield Library and it would be a shame if the minority or isolated incidents prevent people from enjoying all it has to offer. Our staff are always on hand to talk to any visitor about compliments, comments or complaints so please, I would ask people not hesitate to do so and we will deal with any issue appropriately. To find out more about Derbyshire County Council’s library services visit www.derbyshire.gov.uk/libraries

Councillor Dave Allen

Cabinet member for health and communities,

Derbyshire County Council