Workers cite ‘multiple hateful incidents’ in children’s library rooms in Boston

BOSTON — Workers from the Boston Public Library system are planning a “unity gathering” on Saturday following reports of “multiple hateful incidents” at children’s rooms at city libraries.

The Boston Public Library Professional Staff Association said there have been three incidents in recent weeks.

“In three separate recent incidents, a group that is opposed to masking, vaccines, and diversity came into children’s rooms at the Central Library and the Hyde Park Library to protest COVID protection measures,” according to a  BPLSA statement. “While there, they intimidated and harassed members of the public and staff at the library and refused to leave when asked.”

The union’s president said a Maya Angelou bust was vandalized on the same day as one of those incidents at the Central Library in Copley Square.

“Someone had poured gasoline on the statue,” Maty Cropley, president of BPLPSA. “These are really ugly incidents at the library”.

It’s unclear if the person who poured gasoline on the bust had any affiliation with the anti-mask and vaccine protest at the library.

A Boston Police report obtained by Boston 25 news said officers recovered surveillance footage of a potential suspect.

That person has not been arrested or cited in connection with the case.

Boston Public Library regulars expressed their outrage about the recent commotion at the library as the news spread on Thursday.

“I’m just appalled,” said library patron Ann Tousignant. “I don’t know why they would abuse public servants who are really working in the library.”

Several librarians told Boston 25 News off-camera that the people who have been confronting staff have refused to wear masks – which is in violation of the city’s current mandate.

The small group, of about ten people, has berated employees while recording them on cell phones.

“We’re working very closely with not only library staff but also public safety officials,” said Boston Mayor Michelle Wu. “We will make sure, that for those who are not following policies, there is some accountability and that there will be citations issued and summons to court.”

The Boston Public Library Professional Staff Association has called for a “show of unity and kindness” on Saturday outside the Central Library branch from noon-2p.

“This Saturday’s gathering is about bringing people and library staff together to fill the library with love in the face of recent ugly incidents that targeted the children’s room in two locations and the library staff who work there every day,” added Cropley. “We need to work to make sure that all are safe in this space, and we need to ensure that the city provides effective safety measures to prevent hateful disruptions in our libraries.”

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