Thursday, March 03, 2005

Caught On Tape

This morning's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports on a shockingly violent incident at the main branch of the Carnegie Library:

A librarian at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Oakland branch was slightly injured Tuesday after a patron punched him, knocking him to the floor.

The man attacked senior librarian Barry Chad, 57, at 11:45 a.m. after Chad asked him to stop moving a chair from a microfilm area in the Pennsylvania Room on the second floor of the library at 4400 Forbes Ave., authorities said. The man had previously visited the library in the past month but has not been identified.

Having spent plenty of time doing research at the Carnegie Library over the last twenty years, I am very familiar with the Pennsylvania Room and microfilm area. I am not personally acquainted with the librarian who was attacked, but I know who he is. Some insiders at the Carnegie gave me information not disclosed in the PG article..

One of the local TV stations had already sent a crew to the Pennsylvania Room to do a story on the library's holdings in that section. They were not expecting on-the-spot breaking news. While the camera was rolling, the thug (who had been disruptive in the past) began his furniture moving routine. The librarian tried to tell him to stop, the thug got violent, and the alert cameraman caught the whole incident on tape. The thug spotted him and threatened him if he didn't turn the camera off. Instead, he got a close-up. Bad move on his part, and too bad that he got away.

Two days ago, only a few people at the library knew what this guy looked like. Now his face is much more well known that he intended, and more than a few people are going to be looking out for him. I doubt he will be showing up back at the library anytime soon, and if he does, the librarians and staff will be ready.

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