Librarian Punched

Paul Bass PhotoAn adolescent boy punched a librarian, then fled, after his card was confiscated.

The incident occurred four minutes before the 8 p.m. closing time Wednesday at the main downtown branch.

A boy who looked between 11 and 14 tried to check out an item with a card that belonged to a 19-year-old, according to city officials. The librarian said she wanted to hold the card to determine to whom it belonged, “which enraged the young man,” top downtown Sgt. Tammi Means said. “He jumped over the counter, He punched one of the librarians in the head and pulled some of the cards out of the card catalog.”

A security guard was nearby and assisted. The boy, who is believed to live in West Haven, fled.

“The librarian was OK and was checked at the Yale occupational clinic,” said mayoral spokesman Laurence Grotheer.

The incident remains under investigation.

“The young man came behind the desk and threw boxes of library cards and forms all over the floor before he fled on foot,” reported one employee who witnessed the event and said the assaulted librarian “suffered some swelling” and remains “shaken” by the incident. The boy had tried to use two different cards, one from New Haven, one from West Haven, the employee told the Independent. “The administration has been unresponsive and unsympathetic to the growing number of crimes taking place here at the library.”

Library security staff Thursday was reviewing video footage of the incident, said Brad Bullis, the library’s head of adult services. Once more information is gathered, he said, the staff will examine whether changes in security procedures are warranted.


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posted by: robn on August 14, 2014  4:17pm

On one hand the violence appalls me. On the other hand, the kid came out swinging because of a book? Violence to possess literature? I’ll be damned; New Haven continues to be nothing if not interesting.

posted by: Brutus2011 on August 14, 2014  4:28pm

These kinds of things happen in our schools with equally unresponsive administrators except the teachers tend to get blamed.

Hard to believe—unless you work in a NH school.

posted by: Thomas Alfred Paine on August 14, 2014  5:36pm

The library security guard seems to be stationary at the security monitors in a side room near the main entrance. Maybe if the security guard walked around the library every few hours, the physical presence of security might deter some of the crime. Possibly the police should periodically walk through the library several times a day.
The “administration” would be quite foolish to be unresponsive and unsympathetic to criminal activity in the library. This should not be ignored. Parents take or send their children to the library to find books, read or to do research. The last thing New Haven needs is an incident of a child being molested or staff and other patrons being the victims of crime in what should be a safe and orderly environment.

posted by: BillSaunders1 on August 14, 2014  7:29pm

Not for nothing, but there is at least one REAL NASTY Librarian in that branch, that shouldn’t be dealing with the public….

I know many people that have had problems ....

posted by: ElmCitier on August 14, 2014  8:57pm

I know library administrators and supervisors and reporting that “the administration is unresponsive” is not proper journalistic practice.  It is anecdotal; it is uncorroborated; and there was no response sought from administration to a possibly unwarranted slur. (Hello? There was a security guard mentioned in this article.) The New Haven Independent shouldn’t include this kind of “name calling” without offering actual evidence or investigating if this is in fact the case.

posted by: boyscouts on August 14, 2014  10:13pm

Let’s look at the bigger problem here, why is a teenager using a fake ID card?  Or fake library card ? Library cards are free! Where are his parents or caregivers? No excuses here!
As for the library,  it will never be a safe place, because they don’t have enough staff! The board of alderman and the city administration should be ashamed of themselves for not making libraries a priority. There is only one teen librarian hired to serve the entire city of New Haven!  The city and the board of alderman will not fund more full time librarians. In addition, this city might be safer, if teens had safe places to go. Why don’t we have a teen center in every neighborhood? How about a recreation center in every neighborhood? Or open a teen center in every neighborhood school; a place where teens can play sports, dance, be creative, hang out, or maybe even learn something new. In the meantime, let’s get that kid a library card of his own and a book to read about respect.

posted by: Paigeturner on August 16, 2014  7:41am

ElmCitier, then you must know about the patron who just last week tried to hit another patron over the head with a metal folding chair.  This same patron was seen masturbating just recentlly in the technology center in the lower level.  Nothing has been done about this very grave matter.  No suspension has been given.  The patron continues to come in and out.

posted by: Paigeturner on August 17, 2014  8:32am

ElmCitier, did the administrators and supervisors you know tell you about the man who tried to hit a woman over the head with a metal chair last week?  The man is a repeat offender who continues to come in since nothing has been done about him.