Editor’s note: Charges have been filed and more details have been released in this case; click here for the update.

Evanston police arrested a man at about 3 p.m. Monday at the main branch of the public library on Orrington Avenue, after what officers described as “a confrontation between security and a male subject.”

The man arrested is now in custody, though the specific charges against him are pending the results of an ongoing investigation, EPD Commander Ryan Glew told the RoundTable Monday night.

The Evanston Public Library’s main branch on Orrington Ave., where a man was arrested Monday afternoon after a confrontation with a library security guard. Credit: Bob Seidenberg

A tip received by the RoundTable stated that the library security guard who initially confronted the man in question was holding a gun, and Glew confirmed that “security personnel did present a firearm.”

In a statement to the RoundTable, Evanston Public Library Marketing and Communications Manager Jenette Sturges said the man arrested was a library “patron.”

“Evanston Public Library staff followed previous training to evacuate the third-floor area where the incident occurred. Nobody was injured in the incident,” Sturges said. “We would like to thank our staff and the Evanston Police and Fire Department for their quick response in keeping fellow staff and patrons safe.”

No one was injured, and the incident did not involve anyone except for the security guard. EPD arrived after receiving a call about the situation and “arrested the subject confronted by the security guard,” Glew said.

Both Sturges and Glew said they expect to have more information to share with the public once EPD finishes its investigation, which should conclude within a day or two.

As part of its response to the incident, EPL is also reviewing its own safety and security protocols “to ensure the continued safety of our patrons and staff,” Sturges said.

If you were at the library when this incident occurred on Monday and would be willing to discuss what you saw, please contact the RoundTable at news@evanstonroundtable.com.

Duncan Agnew

Duncan Agnew covers Evanston public schools, affordable housing, City Hall and more for the RoundTable. He also writes long-form investigations, features and the morning email newsletter three times a...

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  1. The last time I was at the library I had to move twice. First because the person at my table was using the speaker on her cell phone. The second time was because a obviously high homeless person was hitting me up for cash. We need more guards to enforce the rules. We don’t need social workers.

    1. I work out of my employer’s office two days per week, which is on the 3rd floor of the EPL. Because of the increasing aggressiveness and disruptive behaviors of homeless patrons, we now have to keep our office door locked at all times – formerly patrons could simply walk in to utilize our services. It’s a shame that we have to do this, but our safety is at risk…

      I heard the ruckus that happened Monday afternoon; fortunately we were in our locked office, so no immediate danger… but hearing it through the adjacent wall it was very loud and very violent…

      The public restrooms at the EPL are a mess, with vagrants in and out, sleeping, washing up, etc. Some use the bathrooms for drug use…

      But since the EPL is “woke” in accommodating the homeless, we normal persons now have always to be “on guard” for dangerous people/incidents…

      I would *never* bring a child into the library, as there is too much “bad stuff” going on with these vagrants…

      Why do we have to live this way…!!!???

      Gregory Morrow – 4th Ward Evanston resident

  2. Given that EPL is currently “in between” having a social worker to staff the library, I’m especially distressed to hear about this incident involving a patron and a security guard with a firearm. It would be my hope that a mental health professional would be able to intervene and offer deescalation services rather than having an armed security guard’s intervention. The presence of a firearm may in and of itself escalate a tense or stressful situation or individual experiencing a mental health crisis. I look forward to learning more about EPL’s “safety and security protocols”.

    1. You don’t know the circumstances, now aggressive and threatening the man may have been, or even if he was mentally ill, so it is premature to claim that a social worker would have been able to deescalate the situation. The security guard may well have saved others from injury.

    2. Having worked for ten years in social services, including several stints at homeless services agencies (Streetwise in Chicago, and Connections for the Homeless here in Evanston), I can categorically state that utilizing social workers in these dangerous situations is relatively useless. You need trained security professionals – and preferably armed – to deal with life – threatening situations. The average social worker in any case is poorly paid; they should not have to put their lives on the line for the money they are making. A law enforcement officer is the best person to do this work, as they are trained extensively in de – escalation and other psychological techniques; as additional back – up they are armed, and can use a weapon if need be…