PUEBLO, Colo. – Starting July 26 Robert Hoag Rawlings Public Library will be closed on Sundays until further notice. The closure stems from the Pueblo City-County Library District administration’s concerns for public and library staff safety due to the increased presence of individuals who are not readily identifiable as members of law enforcement who are openly carrying assault weapons in the immediate area of Rawlings Library, located at 100 E. Abriendo Ave. These instances are taking place during the ongoing Sunday protests of the Christopher Columbus statue.
“The Rawlings Library will not open to the public on Sundays until further notice. This is due to the current threat to public safety in the immediate area of that library on Sundays. There have been vigilantes roaming the streets in the immediate vicinity of the Rawlings Library on Sunday afternoons. A number of these individuals are dressed in riot gear and openly brandishing firearms and weapons. This menacing behavior is associated with Sunday protests regarding the Columbus statue on Abriendo Avenue near the Rawlings Library. This alarming activity has occurred in the immediate neighborhood of the Rawlings Library on the last two Sundays, forcing the closure of that library each of these days out of concern for the welfare of library patrons and employees. The Rawlings Library will reopen on Sundays when there is better certainty this dangerous situation is controlled. The library district is collaborating on this matter with city authorities including the mayor and police chief,” wrote PCCLD Executive Director Jon Walker in a statement.
Sunday library service will now shift to Barkman Library, 1300 Jerry Murphy Road and Lamb Library, 2525 S. Pueblo Blvd. Both locations will be open from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays starting July 26.
Prior to this closure, Rawlings Library was the only library location open seven days a week. Rawlings will continue to be open to the public noon to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.