Due to an act of vandalism, the Linton Public Library's drop box will now be locked during the library's closed hours.
Shelley Williams, library director, shared details on the change and why it is necessary.
The vandalism occurred the night of Friday, Sept. 10 or early morning Saturday, Sept. 11 when someone shoved a dead cat into the book drop slot, she explained.
"Then, when staff opened the box, they were faced with having to call the police to have the poor animal removed," Williams said, noting it was apparent the cat had been dead before being crammed into the box.
The incident was very upsetting to members of the library staff as they had to take time away from their daily duties to tend to the mess.
"Library staff (members) were visibly upset about this find and had to spend much precious time cleaning up the books that were in the cart as well as the cart itself," Williams said. "Since the (cat's) body was crawling with fleas, each individual book had to be shaken to get rid of fleas and cleaned while outside and then cleaned again once they were brought inside. Then the drop box had to be sprayed for fleas and for the odor which collected in the cart mat."
Although this time the damage was minimal, it could have been much worse, she noted.
"Due to being on the Evergreen system, we now circulate many books that do not belong to our library. Any that might be damaged would have to be paid for either by the library or by the person who borrowed the book," Williams added. "Therefore, for the time being and until further notice, the slot for the box is locked when the library is closed."
Now the box is checked in the morning and again before closing for any items placed in it during the day and those items are back dated to keep overdue fines to a minimum.
"The weekends will be the worst as the box is locked from 3 p.m. Saturday until Monday morning pickup," she said, adding a sign is placed on the box stating when it is locked.
"The library sincerely apologizes for this great inconvenience to its patrons, but this measure has to be taken to protect not only the property of the books but also staff members who may encounter something worse than a dead animal," Williams explained.
If anyone remembers seeing someone around the drop box during the time in question, they are encouraged to contact the Linton Police Department by calling 847-4411.
The Linton Public Library thanks its patrons for their understanding and patience in this matter, Williams added.