The Portland, Maine, City Council has voted to allow the public library to hire private security guards with constable powers to deal with unruly patrons, despite concerns from some that the homeless and minorities would be targeted.
Currently, library staff must call police when a patron causes a disturbance.
The library director tells the Portland Press Herald giving constable powers to private guards would be a more efficient way to ensure the facility is safe for everyone.
The guards would not have the authority to make arrests, but could issue trespass warnings that would be reviewed by police.
Councilor Jill Duson, who voted against the measure Monday in a 5-3 vote, worried about accountability.
Advocates worried that the homeless who use the library to keep warm would be targeted.