Elderly man caught watching youngsters among problems and accidents logged by Norfolk library staff

PUBLISHED: 15:00 08 January 2013

The library in The Forum, Norwich; picture by Adrian Judd; for EDP

The library in The Forum, Norwich; picture by Adrian Judd; for EDP

copyright of Archant 2009; 01603 772434

An elderly man was escorted from Norwich’s Millennium Library after families complained he was watching and following youngsters in the children’s area.

Staff working at the city service reported he was on his own watching “intently” and when they approached him he declared he “does it out of love” before “moaning” about Norfolk County Council.

The incident is among those logged by staff to show anti-social behaviour, violent behaviour and accidents in Norwich, Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn libraries in the past 12 months.

Others include a woman swearing loudly, throwing books and tipping an exhibit over and a child getting caught in automatic doors.

A member of staff also injured their thumb while opening a double CD case, while a man was “temporarily dazzled” and suffered a four-inch cut above his left eye when he walked straight into glass – after believing he was walking through a library exit.

There were 15 incidents logged at the Millennium Library in 2012. The service, named the most popular in the UK for the past six years, welcomed more than 1.3 million visitors between April 2011 and March 2012.

On January 5 last year, it was noted an elderly man had been accused of inappropriate behaviour in the children’s section.

The duty manager wrote: “I escorted him out into Express [the main library] where he once again became agitated and said that he ‘does it out of love’ and moaned a little about the county council.”

Later it was reported: “On leaving the library a few minutes later he once again went around the edges of The Forum and appeared to be interested in objects he encountered.”

Staff also noted how a man whose library card had been temporarily stopped because of an unpaid £5 fine became irate as they attempted to resolve the issue. They said he threw a book down on the counter saying “you can shove your book”.

On a one-year-old child who was caught by the library’s automatic doors, the duty manager said: “The mother informed me she had her arms full of books at the time and a member of staff said they could see it happening but was unable to get to the doors in time.”

The doors were checked and found to be on the correct setting.

There were 32 incidents logged between March 2010 to July 2011, at the Norwich library. There has been a change in the nature of incidents recorded, with a new system adopted throughout 2012 having a health and safety emphasis.

Catherine Wymer, locality manager and FOI officer for libraries, said: “Recently we have looked at the results of recorded incidents and realise that this does not meet our needs for charting changes in patterns of behaviour in libraries.”

Two incidents were recorded in Great Yarmouth and one in King’s Lynn in 2012.

In Lynn a DVD display stand “suddenly collapsed” on a three-year-old boy, catching his arm. The DVD stand was removed and replaced by a new one, which has not been placed in the children’s area.

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