Libraries in Sweden are seeing an increase of criminal and undesirable behavior, including violence, sexual harassment, and drug dealing, according to reports.
A survey conducted by DIK (Trade Union for Culture, Communication and Advertising) of over 4,700 librarians around the country has produced disturbing results, despite responses from only 34 percent of recipients.
"It is the third survey in a row that points to the same thing: Development is going in the wrong direction," SVT reports.
“In ‘Society is withdrawing - a report on the working environment in our libraries,’ 1,618 Swedish librarians tell of a bleak development in several areas. The biggest problem according to the respondents is social unrest, which has increased from 73 percent in 2017 to 81 percent of Swedish libraries today. Social unrest refers to fighting, intoxication, and aggressiveness towards staff or visitors.”
A majority of respondents reported encountering violent incidents multiple times per year, while 18 percent said it occurs every week and 4 percent said it takes place on a daily basis.
"It can be less threatening situations like throwing a book at someone, but in the worst cases, it is physical violence against librarians or visitors – in fact, abuse," said Stina Hamberg, head of social policy at DIK.
"Nobody should have to face these kinds of situations in their workplace," she said. "Librarians are not trained for this, they work with reading promotion and information retrieval. Not dealing with drunk people, mentally ill or socially vulnerable people."
Nearly half (47%) of respondents said that drug dealing has taken place in their libraries in the past two years.
Librarians also say it is common to encounter men surfing porn sites or openly masturbating at computers, and one in six say they have been subjected to sexual harassment.
One in five librarians say they have considered resigning or changing professions in the past two years.
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