River Forest Public Library facing threats, hires private security

Karen Jordan Image
Tuesday, July 9, 2024
West suburban library facing threats, hires private security
River Forest Public Library at 735 Lathrop Avenue was forced to open later than normal on Tuesday morning due to ongoing threats.

RIVER FOREST, Ill. (WLS) -- Folks who made a trip to the River Forest Public Library earlier Tuesday to entertain their kids or to get some work done had their plans thwarted.

This would have been Heidi Kotynek's first visit.

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"First off, I saw a kid leaving on his bike, and then when I went to the door. It said, 'not open until 5 p.m.,'" Kotynek said.

A statement on the library's website says due to ongoing threats that have not been resolved, the library would open late Tuesday at 5 p.m., when River Forest police could provide security. It will close at its normal time of 9 p.m.

"I think it's sad that there are threats against the library. The library should be one of those safe places in our country, in our community," Kotynek said.

River Forest Public Library Director Emily Compton said the threats started in April, soon after a patron was banned for breaking library policies.

"It's never an easy decision to close the library. We love being here, and it's a wonderful community, and we have lots of support from the community," Compton said.

Compton said initial threats were directed mainly at her, but recently, actions of the individual believed to be at the center of the threats have escalated.

"These last couple of days, there was a letter that went out that named a couple of library staff members and made indirect threats toward the library as a whole," Compton said.

River Forest police are assisting with ongoing federal and state investigations into the incidents. A private security firm has been hired and will be on site starting Wednesday morning, when the library is set to open at its normal time of 9 a.m.