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What will new downtown library do about vagrants?

As the Dayton Metro Library prepares to unveil its new, $64 million flagship downtown building, officials know the old library had a perception problem: people not comfortable going there for fear of vagrants and panhandlers.

“It keeps coming up,” said library director Timothy Kambitsch in a recent interview.

He said security is increased in the new building with more security guards and 200 cameras.

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“We have a security nerve center on the first floor that will be manned, and we will have more security guards roaming the building to make sure the security of the place and the integrity of the place is ensured,” he said.

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He also said the campus will be smoke-free, and “we’re just not going to tolerate people standing out in front of the entrance.”

“We’re exceedingly proud of this building and we want to preserve it and we want to make sure it’s being used in the way we want it to,” he said.

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The new library public area is also four times the size of the old one, so it will feel less crowded and people can put space between themselves and others. Plus many people will be entering through the parking garage, not the street.

All that said, Kambitsch said that many of the people using the old library weren’t homeless. But they may have been poor and not had computers at home, and serving them is part of the library’s job.

“That’s one of the things that’s a strength of the library is it provides constructive space to allow people to better themselves,” he said.

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