SEIU 1021

SF Public Library Workers Rally to Demand Security Measures
As City’s drug and homelessness crises spill into public libraries, librarians fight to keep facilities safe for all



Contacts: Jennie Smith-Camejo,, (510) 710-0201; Luke Thibault,, (760) 534-9958

When most people think of libraries, they picture places to pick up books, bring children for story hours, or use computers for research. Yet in San Francisco, librarians are doing far more than recommending books and reading to kids. With a majority of branches lacking a dedicated security guard, library workers are forced to intervene in dangerous situations that at times turn physical.

Library staff, who are currently in contract negotiations along with tens of thousands of other City employees, are rallying Tuesday to demand that the SF Public Library take action to keep them and their patrons safe so that they can continue to provide services the community depends on.

Who: SF Public Library workers, patrons, and other City workers
What: Rally to protect public libraries
When: Tuesday, April 9, at 12 p.m
Where: SF Main Library, 100 Larkin St.
Visuals: City workers wearing union colors with picket signs marching and chanting 

“I’ve worked at branches that have a security guard and those that don’t,” said Jessica Choy, a part-time librarian. “There’s tension in the air when there is no trained security around to de-escalate situations. At a branch without a guard, I had to approach a patron who was swearing at other people. He ended up kicking in a glass door. My coworkers and I did our best to resolve it and keep people safe, but having trained security guards at every location would be a better solution than hoping librarians are able to handle potentially dangerous situations alone. 

“We’re open to every member of the public seven days a week to have a safe place to be, charge their phone, use computers. Whatever they’re going through, they go through that at the library. Our job is to ensure equitable access to the library for everyone, which is why we’re fighting for more full-time jobs and more security guards. My kids and I have loved using the libraries since they were babies. We want everyone to be able to do that,” said Choy.