Putting incidents at the Stanley Milner library into perspective

The Stanley Milner Library was in the news a lot last week thanks to a few violent incidents that happened outside the main entrance. Mayor Mandel suggested moving the entrance to the back, away from Churchill Square, an idea that EPL CEO Linda Cook doesn’t agree with (more on this from Colby). I don’t either. I’d much rather see the sidewalk widened, and perhaps the bus stop moved.

Then I got to thinking – maybe we’re making a big deal out of nothing.

This is based on data from the Edmonton Sun (and I used IBM’s Many Eyes to get the proportions right). There were 1.4 million visits and just 728 incidents in 2009. Incidents here include everything from “noisy patrons to public intoxication”. How many violent crimes are there? I’m guessing a lot less.

I’m not trying to downplay the violent crimes that have occurred, but if so many people use the library without incident maybe the entrance isn’t the issue.

8 thoughts on “Putting incidents at the Stanley Milner library into perspective

  1. Total reported incidents comes nowhere near to representing the general unpleasantness of the front entrance of the library at any given time, but particularly in the evenings. I worked there for more than 10 years in the heyday of Penny McKee, and never felt the least bit uncomfortable coming and going, but I avoid going there as much as I can, now.

  2. Good post Mac. I agree with former_employee that it can be uncomfortable in front of the library right now, but I also think that moving the entrance is a pretty extreme reaction.

    Moving the bus stops to reduce the congestion seems like a much easier solution.

  3. I never feel uncomfortable coming in an out of the downtown library – now or before.

    I wonder if feeling “uncomfortable” has more to do with being uncomfortable around people who look/seem/act differently than we do more than anything else.

    Sure there are teenagers there but that doesn’t mean they are “bad” and it certainly isn’t the only group. I have regularly had young kids say hi or hold the door open for me. Of course there are people who are loud, annoying and self-absorbed but you’ll find that all over the city.

    There is absolutely congestion so the ideas on making more space seem sensible.

  4. In my experience, the louder among the Milner entrance crowd is not generalizable to “all over the city”. Also, I don’t think it’s fair to suggest that the previous commentator’s discomfort is a form of racism or discrimination.

    I do agree that many in front of the library are nice, say hi and hold the door.

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