DUNLAP, Ill. (WMBD) — Dunlap community members flooded a library board meeting in May to express concerns over alleged inappropriate behavior by a patron and how the director handled the issue.
Tuesday, June 7, the library board released a statement clarifying its support for the director, Laura Keyes-Kaplafka, and her decision to suspend an employee.
As previously reported, on Tuesday, May 17, a man allegedly used the Dunlap Library to print out headshots of young girls and teenagers bicycling with sports bras on.
While Keyes-Kaplafka was not working during the time of the incident, two employees of the library reached out to her about the situation. This ended in at least one employee being placed on probation, with no explanation from the director at that time.
In the statement, the library board stated the reason the employee was put on probation was that they violated library policy by giving the information about the alleged incident to someone who is not library staff.
“Under the provisions of the Confidentiality of Records Policy of the Dunlap Public Library, patron information cannot be released to any person outside the Dunlap Public Library, even to official law enforcement officers, without a court order,” the release stated.
The board also clarified no employees were fired as a result of the event.
The library board went on to clarify that what the patron printed out was, “four ‘headshots’ of young girls on the internet, guessed to be from age as young as 7 to as old as 10, and a photo of a group of cyclists wearing cropped tops. There were no pornographic pictures and no nudity whatsoever in the printings.”
The patron was then suspended from the library for 60 days because of their behavior.
A public meeting was held on Monday, May 23, where many members of the community attended to express their concerns about a potential sex offender being in the library.
However, in the press release sent Tuesday, the library board stated sex offenders are allowed in the library according to Illinois courts that have heard these cases.
“Courts have consistently ruled that sex offenders have the same right to use public libraries as
other citizens,” the board stated.
The board went on to further explain it felt the director acted in accordance with the situation.
“In addition to her exemplary behavior in dealing with this incident, the Board of Trustees also
appreciates the many donations the Library Director has made her time, talents, and expertise
numerous times, without any additional compensation, to add to the Programming offered to all
ages at the Dunlap Public Library,” the statement reads.
The director, Keyes-Kaplafka, will be conferring with other public libraries in the county to discuss the procedures regarding registered sex offenders and has installed software that would flag pornographic websites on library computers.
Keyes-Kaplafka has informed WMBD she will not comment on the matter on camera.
Read the full statement from the library below: