Our View: Keeping the library incident in perspective

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Editorial Board, January through May 8, 2011

  • Scott Stanford, general manager
  • Brent Boyer, editor
  • Tom Ross, reporter
  • Traci Day, community representative
  • Dean Vogelaar, community representative

Contact the editorial board at 970-871-4221 or editor@SteamboatToday.com. Would you like to be a member of the board? Fill out a letter of interest now.

— Monday’s incident in which a 14-year-old Steamboat Springs boy was stabbed in his hands during an altercation with a vagrant man at Bud Werner Memorial Library may have been alarming, but it wasn’t representative of the overall safety of our community or the state of affairs at a library that has become one of the most treasured public institutions in the city.

The knee-jerk reaction would be to call for increased security at the library, but we don’t think that’s necessary. We do, however, expect library officials and staff to discuss Monday’s incident in detail and review their own policies and procedures to make sure supervision is being conducted in an appropriate manner for the venue. Chris Painter, the library’s executive director, said her staff spent much of Tuesday afternoon doing exactly that.

That said, let’s not allow what appears to be an isolated, one-time incident influence changes that would detract from all that makes libraries, particularly Bud Werner Memorial Library, a wonderful place to spend time. When voters in 2005 approved a $11.4 million renovation to the library, skeptics — this Editorial Board was among them — questioned the value of spending so much money on a want versus a need. What we’ve seen since the library was completed in September 2008 is a modern, clean and beautiful facility that attracts a steady stream of visitors throughout the day. It’s become the place for reading, quiet reflection, getting work done in a peaceful setting, surfing the Web, sipping a cup of coffee, browsing magazines and newspapers, and more. Dedicated children’s and teen areas, community meeting rooms and more have made the library attractive for visitors of all ages.

In short, our library has become what all libraries should be — a place for everyone. On Monday afternoon, a public institution that rightfully opens its doors to people from all walks of life became the scene of an unfortunate and scary incident. Time will tell who played what role in the altercation in the teen reading area. But as a community, let’s not lose sight of the fact that it was one incident on one afternoon and not at all reflective of the safe and nurturing environment at Bud Werner Memorial Library.

Comments

mmjPatient22 3 years, 8 months ago

Why did the Pilot feel it necessary to go on the defensive for the Library after this "one incident, on one afternoon?" Was there really a fear that this singular event had the potential to forever alter people's perceptions about the brand-spankin' new, multi-million dollar library?

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seeuski 3 years, 8 months ago

I have not seen anyone write of the need for more security at the library, just that vagrants shouldn't be allowed to sleep and loiter in the facility, especially the TEEN reading area. The library staff should monitor these childrens areas along with the rest of the facility and should be prepared to move people like this along. As a former teen I can understand the exuberance of youths who may have felt this man was in their area slumbering. None of the teens had a weapon and the fact that so many in this forum have condoned, in many ways, the vagrants actions and ignored his use of a deadly weapon on energetic teens speaks volumes for the mindset of some in our community. Just the fact that this guy attempted to throw one kid over a balcony is enough to show that this guy has a different set of values than the vast majority of us. One who seems to have no forethought of his violent actions towards others should be deemed a danger to all of us.

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hubiem 3 years, 8 months ago

1999, so you were right there when this happened? you saw the kids poking him? because i didn't read anything in the article that said that happened.

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hubiem 3 years, 8 months ago

to clear any confusion, my last comment was in response to a post that has been deleted.

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hubiem 3 years, 8 months ago

ok 1999, i just re read the entire article and it says the boys were loud and obnoxious, it does't say anywhere that they were poking him. you should read more and speculate less.

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1999 3 years, 8 months ago

I have it on very good authority that those particular kids have been consistant menaces at the libray and were indeed poking and physically bothering the man.

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1999 3 years, 8 months ago

I happen to know one of the teens involved.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 8 months ago

Regardless, library should not be a place to go to sleep.

Regardless, teenagers should not have engaged him.

Library may not need additional security, but it should be less of a hang out for someone looking for a place to take a nap and less of a hang out for teens not there to learn.

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hubiem 3 years, 8 months ago

well said scott.

1999, since you've now stated that the poking was actually hearsay, why did you state it as fact? also, why did you tell me to read some more when you knew that the info wasn't in the article?

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pitpoodle 3 years, 8 months ago

Hopefully, library administrators won't over-react and insist on metal detectors instead of contacting the parents and asking them to take responsibility for their kids. Wouldn't surprise me.

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kathy foos 3 years, 8 months ago

People wonder where kids learn to bully?They might be learning from example of adults who would defend a stabber over a child for no reason.Maybe the kids wanted to sit down on the couch that was meant for their use and not a sleeping adult?

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greenwash 3 years, 8 months ago

The kids are punks and the parents are to blame .

Huber has some serious issues , homeless, unemployed , angry ....The Bible just aint going to cut it.

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xxcolorado_galxx 3 years, 8 months ago

I'm sorry but the person to blame is the adult who tried to throw a child off a balcony and stabbed another through the hand..duh! Why should the parents be to blame for nutcase, who instead of walking away from in altercation decided it was okay to stab a child!!!

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greenwash 3 years, 8 months ago

The parents needed to teach the kids manners , respect , honesty and to be smart .I know who the kids are ...They are rude spoiled punks. And its the parents who are responsible for raising them , teaching them . Obviously a few bad apples can spoil the punch.

Huber was wrong as well...All were capable of walking away.

Good Luck.

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xxcolorado_galxx 3 years, 8 months ago

Obviously you don't know then that well.Since I know my brother is not a spoiled punk.but you can believe what you want..

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sledneck 3 years, 8 months ago

xx colorado,

"in for a penny, in for a pound."

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1999 3 years, 8 months ago

so he's just to supposed to walk away after he's been harrassed?

why didn't you punk kids walk away and not bother him in the first place?

why didn't you punk kids walk to the library admin and ask to have the man removed?

why haven't you fessed up to bothering the man?

I double dog dare you to go bother some homeless man in denver. one that may be sleeping on a picnic bench you want to use.

come on . do it.

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seeuski 3 years, 8 months ago

@xxcolorado_galxx

Don't let the real punks get you down on this forum, they seem to sympathize with the offender because they see themselves as more akin with a knife wielding, violent misfit then our local kids.

Steamboat spent some 14 $million dollars to renovate the library with such materials as granite, marble and other expensive finishes while we spent some 4 to 5 $million for the Iron Horse Inn, why can't that cheaper facility be used for a nap area for the homeless instead of a place where our kids go for a safe place to learn? It's still along the river, the view is just as good, and the path is conveniently located for the guy.

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