Adding the equipment and staffing necessary to keep concealed carry weapons out of the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library would cost less than an extra $2 on annual property taxes for a $100,000 home in the city limits.
But board members and executive staff who discussed the library’s options during a retreat Monday were more concerned with how metal detectors and armed guards would affect the peaceful environment library patrons currently enjoy.
“It seems the one thing we haven’t address is the user experience and how we maintain service levels and quality,” CEO Gina Millsap said. “It is a budget issue but, honestly, the real issue is what impact will this have, for good or ill? I want us to keep as big picture about us as we can.”
Board members in June approved the six month extension to the state’s new concealed carry law, which allows permit holders to bring their weapons into all public buildings that don’t have metal detectors and armed guards.
As such, the board has until Dec. 31 to develop an extensive security plan to secure a four-year exemption to the law. If the library wants to pursue the extended exemption, it has until October to have a first reading of the new policy.
Continuing its prohibition of concealed carry would cost between $182,000 and $246,000, depending on whether the guards are armed or full-time employees with benefits. Those figures represent a mill levy increase between .122 and .164 mills — or $1.40 or $1.89 for a $100,000 house within the Topeka limits.
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