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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Spokane Public Library closes all branches Saturday after getting ‘concerning threats’ on social media

Nov. 13, 2021 Updated Sat., Nov. 13, 2021 at 6:17 p.m.

The downtown Spokane Public Library, shown on August 11, 2020.  (Jesse Tinsley/The Spokesman-Review)
The downtown Spokane Public Library, shown on August 11, 2020. (Jesse Tinsley/The Spokesman-Review)

The Spokane Public Library closed all its branches Saturday after it received “concerning threats” on social media, according to the library’s Facebook page.

The post said the move to close the branches is “out of an abundance of caution to keep staff and public safe.”

Amanda Donovan, director of marketing and communications at the library, said the library received two nonspecific threats on Twitter around 4 a.m. Saturday . She said the individual tagged the Spokane Public Library in the tweet.

“The tweets appeared to be coming from someone who was having a mental health crisis of some sort but we just really felt like we wanted to close in an abundance of caution,” Donovan said.

She said library officials are evaluating whether to reopen branches Sunday or Monday and will arrange for additional security to be on hand when they do open their doors again.

Spokane Police Department Cpl. Nick Briggs, a department spokesman, said in a text message that the library notified police of the threats of violence, which weren’t directed at a specific branch. He wrote police are investigating.

The library branch closures come on the heels of the public library opening the Liberty Park and Shadle Park libraries this month.

While unknown if connected, the social media threats add to recent threats made in the Spokane area.

A University High School student was arrested for suspicion of felony harassment on Nov. 5 after he allegedly threatened the life of a 16-year-old student through intimidating social media posts and direct threats of gun violence.

The threats, according to court documents, caused the school to cancel classes Nov. 5.

On Oct. 28, Spokane police received several reports of social media messages indicating a student was experiencing bullying and would visit violence upon local schools. Officers investigating those reports found identical reports being investigated by the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, police said.

The investigation revealed the social media threat originated at a Louisville, Kentucky, high school. Police said at the time there appeared to be no credible threat to Spokane-area schools stemming from the social media threat.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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