May 26, 2022

Report: “Ransomware Attack Makes All St. Louis Public Library Computers Inoperable”

UPDATE 10:00AM (Saturday, Jan. 21, 2016)

St. Louis Public Library OPAC Once Again Accessible Online

UPDATE 8:30pm (Friday, Jan. 20, 2016)

St. Louis Public Library Regains Control Of Server But Computer Services/Checkouts/OPAC Remain Unavailable (via St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

UPDATE (Friday, Jan. 20, 2016)

Letter to Library Patrons by Waller McGuire, Executive Director of the St. Louis Public

UPDATED 2pm EST (Thursday, Jan. 19, 2016) From the St. Louis Post Dispatch

“Hack of St. Louis Public Library freezes checkouts, 700 computers”

Libraries will remain open for patrons to come in to browse and read materials or do their own work. The St. Louis Public Library consists of Central Library at 1301 Olive Street and 15 branches. Many patrons reserve library computers for schoolwork or to look for jobs. Reserved computers will not be available, of course.


The library reported the attack to the FBI, but Hatton says the library’s own technology employees should be able to restore service. Tech services staff discovered the attack early Thursday. It was not yet determined whether the attack took place late Wednesday or early Thursday.

Original Post

From KTVI (St.Louis):

All computers at St. Louis Public Library locations are inoperable. The library says that they have been hacked and the computers are being held for ransom.

Hackers install programs to make computers or entire networks unable to function.  They will then hold the information or hardware for ransom until an amount of money is paid. Once the money is paid then the computers and information are generally restored.

It is not clear if any personal information has been breached. This ransomware attack affects both computers available to the public and those used for staff and administration.

From KMOV (St. Louis):

Library spokeswoman Jennifer Hatton said the 700 computers throughout their 16 branches are currently down because of a ransomware attack.

The exact timing of the attack is unknown, but library officials believe it occurred either Wednesday night or Thursday morning. Hatton said the attackers are demanding the library pay a fee to be able to access their server.

From CBS St. Louis:

“Our website is not affected, fortunately,” she says. “What it is really affecting is our staff computers and our 700 public computers throughout our branches,” she says.

It also means no one can check out items out for now.

Hatton says no personal information of patrons or employees is stored on the servers in question.

She adds that they have no intention of paying the ransom.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.