The Toronto Public Library Board voted on Tuesday to approve $2 million to cover the cost of security guard resources within the next year.
Libraries, which operate under universal licensing from the Ministry of Education, are the target of vandalism and theft, as they lack the security around them that some school board offices do.
“With the decline in library branches and increase in digital access, safety for our staff and patrons is an important concern,” said library chairwoman Maureen Jensen.
The funds will pay for unarmed guards within specific locations and while staff try to catch those responsible for the vandalism.
Trustees said they had to be careful to balance the desires of patrons with the need to keep libraries safe from vandalism.
“We’re always making sure we’re offering services that people expect us to provide, but, equally, we’re worried about the safety of our patrons,” said trustee Jack MacLaren.
Last month, library executives called for $4 million to hire security guards for the year — a sign of the growing importance of the issue to libraries. In the first half of the year, library officials confirmed, graffiti or defaced library walls cost $150,000.