Grantee reveals pattern of assaults against Fort Worth librarians; story prompts city to increase security

A fish tank sits beside the check-out desk in the Central Library’s children’s section. Several altercations detailed in the incident reports — including sexual assault — occurred in or near the children’s section. (Cristian ArguetaSoto | Fort Worth Report)

An anonymous tip led reporters from Fort Worth Report to investigate claims that public library staff across the city were regularly being physically, sexually and verbally assaulted by patrons. Even after staff members reported the assaults to management, nothing was done. With support from the Fund, reporters Emily Wolf and Rachel Behrndt investigated the story for six months, obtaining documents showing that many staff members raised security concerns to management multiple times, but nothing changed. Their story got results. Three weeks after the initial investigation was published, the Fort Worth City Manager’s Office assigned a city deputy marshal to assist with library security. The deputy’s assignment marked the first time an armed individual is permanently patrolling libraries.