BUFFALO, N.Y. — Starting Friday, the downtown Buffalo Central Library will be closing at 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The Buffalo and Erie County Public Library director says it's in response to several concerning incidents involving fights and violence.
This decision was made to keep library patrons and staff safe while security and administration come up with a solution and strategy.
The downtown Central Library will be the only one of 37 Erie County libraries that will be closing at 3 p.m. on weekdays. Its weekend hours and programming will remain unchanged.
“Unfortunately, incidents at the Central Library have now escalated to the point where we cannot provide the environment that our users expect and deserve," Buffalo & Erie County Public Library Director John Spears said Thursday evening in a statement, announcing the change.
"The problems we are experiencing with patrons of all ages, but especially youth, are being seen beyond just the Library, and we hope that these issues can be addressed across the entire community. We want to be a part of the solution. It is our hope we can soon go back to serving all of the community in a safe space."
Director John Spears said he is starting to have conversations with several community agencies hoping to help come up with possible solutions. He hopes this early closure will be brief.
“After much reflection and discussion with administration, Library security, and staff, it was determined this is the best solution to adequately address untenable safety concerns we are seeing throughout the Library until a permanent strategy will allow for a return to our normal hours.”
Spears said he wants the library to be a safe atmosphere for everyone who visits.
On Friday, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said he's discussed the issue with Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, "and we will be meeting soon with others to devise a plan to safely reopen the Library for its normal hours."