After troubling incident, Bozeman library affirms commitment to visitor safety

Posted at 6:29 PM, May 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-29 20:29:49-04

BOZEMAN – After a transient man allegedly exposed himself to children at the Bozeman Public Library, a question arises: What safety measures does the library have in place?

Library Director Susan Gregory says with the high volume of traffic at the Library, nothing should come as a surprise. “But at the same time, everything is surprising," she said.

Saturday was one of those more surprising days for the Library when 43-year-old Samuel Rodriguez reportedly exposed himself in the Children’s section.

"The employees contacted 911, gave a description of a male who had entered the children’s section of the library and exposed himself in a manner that was offensive, and was leaving the library and that someone from the library had followed him and was giving the information to dispatch as officers were on their way,” said Bozeman Police Detective Sgt. Joe Swanson.

Rodriguez has since been arrested and charged with indecent exposure, but the Library wants to remind the public of its preparedness to deal with these types of situations, starting with their behavior policy.

"We have, I think, 16 to 18 specific behaviors that are listed, and those include things like no drinking alcohol in the library, no bringing alcohol into the library, no harassing or stalking or bothering other customers,” Gregory said. “It’s a pretty specific policy. It covers almost any kind of behavior you can think of, and the reason being is we want to help people understand that they’re welcome here if they behave appropriately, and if they don’t there are consequences.”

And the Bozeman Public Library does have extra safety measures in place through their substation partnership with the Bozeman Police Department.

"We do have the Bozeman police here. They come and go, they do a lot of walk-throughs, they take very good care of us. We also do a lot of staff training, they are empowered to call the police, they are empowered to intervene; we take safety very seriously, especially for children."

And Gregory hopes the community can find comfort in the Library’s handling of this type of incident.

"You know, I hope people will understand that an incident like this should not keep them from coming to the library. This is the kind of thing unfortunately that could happen in any public space. But the plus side is that our staff is trained to handle that, and to hopefully be proactive and on top of the situation so that should give people a sense of security," she said.

Rodriguez appeared in Gallatin County Justice Court on Tuesday where his bail was set at $500,000.

RELATED: Man arrested after exposing self to children at Bozeman library