February 8, 2010

Library fines take on a whole new meaning


Chicago Public Library/Police Station

Chicago Public Library/Police Station

As a report from the Chicago Sun Times puts it, “A police station in a library? Yes.”

In a pilot program, “residents of the Southwest Side’s Clearing neighborhood will now be able to go to the library to fill out police reports,” according to the Sun Times. “The Chicago Police Department has added a satellite office to the Chicago Public Library‘s Clearing Branch at 6423 W. 63rd Pl.”

In what used to the be library’s computer lab, which has been moved to another area of the library, residents can file reports, talk to officers about community policing concerns and report on any criminal activity in their neighborhood. Also, they can discuss the latest reading group pick, the newest bestseller or story hour with the officers.

Only police officers will be housed there, assured the Sun Times. No actual criminals. Library spokeswoman Ruth Lednicer tells the newspaper that “the satellite office will be helpful because the area is divided by railroad tracks, and some residents may find it easier to get to the library than to the Chicago Lawn District‘s headquarters at 63rd and Homan.”

“It’s also a less-intimidating atmosphere,” she pointed out. Though folks with really overdue books might want to go to another branch….

Valerie Merians is the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House.