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

<p><p>The Spokane Public Library closed all its branches Saturday after it received “concerning threats” on social media, according to the library’s Facebook page. </p></p><p><p>The post said the move to close the branches is “out of an abundance of caution to keep staff and public safe.”</p></p><p><p>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.</p></p><p><p>“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.</p></p><p><p>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.</p></p><p><p>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.</p></p><p><p>The library branch closures come on the heels of the public library opening the Liberty Park and Shadle Park libraries this month.</p></p><p><p>While unknown if connected, the social media threats add to recent threats made in the Spokane area.</p></p><p><p>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.</p></p><p><p>The threats, according to court documents, caused the school to cancel classes Nov. 5.</p></p><p><p>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.</p></p><p><p>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.</p></p><p><p><span class=”print_trim”><em>This is a developing story and will be updated.</em></span></p></p>