Escalating vandalism seen at library

POINTLESS DESTRUCTION — Bridgton Library Trustee Will Libbey kneels beside the big tree in the Bridgton Library Courtyard, where vandals ripped up slats from the wooden tree grate. The vandals had stuffed paperback books below the grate and set them on fire. (Geraghty Photos)

POINTLESS DESTRUCTION — Bridgton Library Trustee Will Libbey kneels beside the big tree in the Bridgton Library Courtyard, where vandals ripped up slats from the wooden tree grate. The vandals had stuffed paperback books below the grate and set them on fire.
(Geraghty Photos)

By Gail Gerghty
Staff Writer
A few disrespecting vandals have been creating mayhem on the Bridgton Public Library Courtyard the past few weeks.
Since Halloween night, the problem has gotten worse, and library officials are seeking the public’s help. The vandals defaced the granite steps to the children’s area with magic marker and destroyed a section of the wooden grate circling the courtyard’s big tree. Beyond those criminal acts, they’ve generally disrespected the space in other ways, by leaving behind trash,and cigarette butts, and even urinating in the stairwell.
On Tuesday, two BMX bikes and a sundress were discarded at the courtyard.
Librarian Holly Hancock said someone stuck some paperback books under the tree grates and tried to set them on fire. Thankfully, the fire didn’t really catch. She called Bridgton Police, but realizes they can’t be everywhere at once.
That’s why she and members of the Board of Trustees are hoping that the public will keep their eyes open and call police if they see suspicious activity going on around the library, which recently underwent a major parking lot upgrade and facelift to its Cottage Street entrance.
Trustee Will Libbey said that a lot of time, energy, work and commitment went into the courtyard project a few years ago, and also into parking lot project. A good portion of the funding has come through individual donations, and these projects add to the aesthetic appeal of the downtown.
It can become disheartening when it becomes a regular routine to go around picking up cigarette butts and discarded food wrappers, he said, holding up a big tub filled with trash collected from the courtyard.
But these latest acts of vandalism are especially concerning, because they point to an escalating pattern. Libbey and Hancock hope residents will keep a watch over the library, to protect this public resource. Suspicious activity can be reported to Bridgton Police by calling 647-8814. NW 39 library vandalism 2

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