Public Libraries Now Face Hoax Bomb Threats


The Nashville Public Library system was: forced to close its branches Thursday after receiving an anonymous email bomb threat — the latest in a series of similar fears across the country recently.

The police have determined that the message probably came from outside Tennessee and was not credible, according to NewsChannel 5 in Nashville. Byour library management has chosen to temporarily close the locations after receiving the email, that did not target a specific branch.

“It’s so common now. This is domestic terrorism.” Nashville Councilman Ginny Welsch told NewsChannel 5. “This is trying to scare us all, and a library is really the perfect target for this kind of thing because it’s a place of knowledge, information and history.”

Earlier this month, Salt Lake City Public Library staff got a bomb threat who didn’t name a specific branch, according to ABC4 in Utah. An employee found an unattended bag near a building, but local police found no explosives during a search and said the public was not at risk.

More threats came this week.

On Monday, an employee of the Fort Worth Public Library in Texas received three emails pointing to a bomb threat, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. A library spokesperson said the messages did not contain any explanation to the threat, but 17 branches were prematurely evacuated and closed. Police determined that the emails came from outside the United States and were not credible. The libraries reopened the following day.

Hoax threats appear to be an escalation of a conservative culture war that has begun in the past year, with: right-wing groups directing their anger at public libraries for hosting LGBTQ or racial justice-themed events and books.

extremists have protested against ‘drag queen story hours’, call the family-friendly events a haven for pedophiles. A record number of books face a ban. Religious organizations have grown campaigns to prevent people from reading books about LGBTQ communities, and librarians have quit their jobs because of bullying.

And many Republican officials have not been shy about joining the fake panic. Last year, Texas State Representative Matt Krause circulated a list of hundreds of books he believes should be reviewed by school districts. Officials in Llano County shut down the public library system – despite not being part of the school system – to check the titles and remove any questionable ones. Residents have already filed a complaint.

The source of the bomb threats and messages targeting libraries is still a mystery. But their effect is similar to that of the other campaigns against the facilities this year: creating chaos and confusion as staffers are harassed – and closing the institutions, even if temporarily.



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