Chantry Library in Ipswich forced to close every Sunday after anti-social behaviour problems

Chantry Library, in Hawthorn Drive, will be temporarily closed on Sundays. Picture: ARCHANT

Chantry Library, in Hawthorn Drive, will be temporarily closed on Sundays. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Anti-social behaviour – including staff being threatened and intimidated – has forced one of Ipswich’s most popular libraries to shut its doors to customers every Sunday.

Bosses have announced Chantry Library in Hawthorn Drive will be temporarily closed on Sundays while they work with police to solve a spate of “intimidating behaviour” which chiefs say has had an impact on staff and the community in recent weeks.

Ranging from staff being intimidated – which has at times led to police being called – to books being thrown off shelves – has been a consistent issue for several Sundays in a row.

Bicycles have also been used inside the library itself, which bosses say is unacceptable.

Representatives for Suffolk Libraries, which runs the centre, said: “We apologise for any inconvenience, but felt this measure is in the best interests of customers and staff, whose wellbeing is always our first priority.

“Libraries are welcoming places which are open to everyone.

“In recent weeks, some visitors to Chantry Library have been behaving in a way which makes life very uncomfortable for staff and other customers.

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They added: “Suffolk Libraries is working with staff and other organisations, including the police and the children’s centre which is based at the library, to work out how best to address these issues.”

Bosses previously took the decision to temporarily close Lowestoft Library on certain days, and in that case the issue was resolved relatively swiftly.

The Suffolk Libraries spokesman added: “We know from past experience that sometimes closing a library at a certain time when the problem is worse can help to alleviate the issues.

“At the moment we don’t know how long the closure will last for but Chantry Library is a busy and popular community library and we want to ensure all our customers can enjoy all its facilities and activities in a safe and comfortable environment.”

Police are working with library staff to help tackle the problem, the spokesman said, and it is hoped that a quick solution will be found.

The library is open as usual at all other times, and there are five other libraries open on Sundays in the Ipswich area.

Bosses said the health walk, which starts from outside the library once a month on Sundays, are still going ahead as usual.