An increase in homeless activity around the outside of the Warsaw Community Public Library is worrying staff.

The library board discussed the matter on Monday.

The matter was raised after director Ann Zydek said that in September there was an assault on an individual standing outside the eastern front door in the early hours of the morning. She said the best the library staff could say is that someone was charging their phone in that area and someone came around the corner and “something happened.”

The Warsaw Police Department asked if the library had anything as far back as records for that period and they did. A copy of the video has been provided to WPD.

Zydek said she didn’t know anything more.

“So we tried to say, ‘What is the reason that this happened? “, Zydek said.

The electrical outlet outside the entrance was unplugged.

Things like grocery carts were found upside down outside the library, Zydek said.

She said the police were aware of the situation and had officers on it. He was told that if anyone is sleeping in the library parking lot, they can be asked to leave. If they returned, they would be banned from the property for 30 days or more.

Board member Tim Keyes has expressed concern as the weather gets colder that someone could freeze to death outside the library.

Zydek said there were a number of shelters in the area. Keyes asked if information could be given to these people about these shelters. Zydek said that so far library staff have not had the opportunity to speak to anyone sleeping outside the library. They are not there when the library staff are at the library. Keyes suggested leaving shelter information instead of chasing people.

Zydek said they can try to link up with the shelters and let them know what’s going on in the area and see what the shelters come back with.

She said that since they unplugged the outlet near the eastern front door, library staff have not seen people congregating in that area.

Keyes said he doesn’t object to anyone being on the library grounds and that everyone should be able to use the library. However, he said people should not be able to commit crimes on the property. He said he was raising the topic because he didn’t want anyone exposed to the elements or committing a crime on the property. He asked if WPD could stop in the library parking lot as they patrolled the area.

Zydek said they have done this in the past. They are aware, and when they go beyond that the agents are watching what is going on. She also said that WPD is aware that the library has free Wi-Fi, so people can be in the parking lot using it. Since the library has free Wi-Fi, they need to make sure the property is safe.

In other cases, Zydek said the library received a partial American Rescue Plan Act grant of $ 23,086.91 to increase the library’s digital content needs.

On September 23, Zydek completed the required documentation. Once the contract is signed, the library will be able to purchase $ 15,879.91 of Overdrive digital content and a set of Promethean interactive displays for $ 7,207 for on-site educational programs, such as programs or meetings.

The Board approved the contract, as well as Zydek’s ability to sign the contract online.

In other business, Council adopted its 2022 budget. The total budget is $ 3,869,529. The general fund is $ 3,594,529. The rainy day fund is $ 275,000.