A young man has been suspended from the New Haven Public Free Library after hitting a library worker across the face at the checkout counter last Wednesday, according to library Deputy Executive Director Cathleen DeNigris.
According to DeNigris, the boy, who is believed to be between the ages of 10 and 13, was trying to check out books or DVDs the evening of Aug. 13 shortly before the library closed.
He arrived at the checkout counter with two cards and a library assistant confronted him about it, taking his lanyard. The New Haven Independent reports that one of the cards belonged to a 19-year-old.
The boy grew frustrated and walked behind the counter in an attempt to retrieve the lanyard. While he was trying to take it back, he hit the library worker's left cheek, DeNigris said.
A library guard rushed to her side and intervened. Library workers called police, who are investigating the incident. DeNigris said the worker received medical treatment for a facial contusion and went back to work the next day.
The boy has been suspended from the library. A second person was suspended today for picking up a chair to throw it across the room, according to DeNigris.
She said it isn’t unusual to have incidents like this at a city library. The library has half a million visits each year, and staff underwent training in June to prepare for “volatile” situations. Still, DeNigris calls them a “relatively rare occurrence.”
"We have a long established policy for handling situations. The staff is well aware of the policies. The staff has had training in volatile situations. The library is a safe place, we have security in place all the hours we are open but unfortunately that sometimes isn't enough to prevent these things from happening," DeNigris said.
According to the New Haven Independent, the boy fled the library and has not been identified.