EPD gives the all clear after libraries close for second bomb threat in 3 days

By Duncan Agnew September 14th, 2023

EPD gives the all clear after libraries close for second bomb threat in 3 days

Just days after police evacuated the Evanston Public Library and Robert Crown Community Center due to a bomb threat, both locations closed down again on Thursday afternoon because of another bomb threat, according to the Evanston Police Department’s X (formerly Twitter) account.

“The Evanston Public Library and Robert Crown Center are closing at this time due to a bomb threat,” EPD posted shortly after 3:30 p.m. Thursday. “Please avoid the area. Updates to follow.”

EPD announced about an hour later that it had cleared the main library with no evidence of a bomb, and that the building would remain closed for the rest of the day. Authorities also cleared Robert Crown with K-9 units and bomb technicians, and “there was no evidence of a bomb located.”

Robert Crown will remain open for normal hours the rest of the day.

On Tuesday just after 3 p.m., library staff received an email claiming someone had left a bomb in the main library on Orrington Avenue and “in other area libraries,” Evanston Police said in a news release. Officers responded to the main library and to the Robert Crown Branch Library, evacuated the two locations and cleared them with a bomb-sniffing K-9 unit. After a four-hour search, law enforcement ultimately did not find any explosives at either building.

Public libraries in Chicago, Aurora, Addison and several other suburban locations received similar threats on Tuesday as well, all unsubstantiated. Police cleared libraries again on Thursday after Evanston, Aurora and Chicago all got more threats called or emailed into their libraries. The motivation and the people behind the unsubstantiated threats remains unclear, but the emails arrived on Tuesday around the same time Illinois Secretary of State and state librarian Alexi Giannoulias was testifying at a U.S. Senate hearing on book censorship. In June, Gov. JB Pritzker signed a first-of-its-kind law barring book bans, in response to states like Florida and Texas limiting access to literature on topics like racism and sexuality.

EPD said it is still investigating both of this week’s incidents and the source of the threats. If you have any relevant information, contact EPD detectives at 847-866-5040 or Text-A-Tip to CRIMES (274637) by starting your message with “EPDTIP.”