A second bomb threat came into the Wilmette Public Library three days after a threat was made on Aug. 17.
Like the first one, a library employee received a digital message at 4:47 on Aug. 20 on the library’s website that claimed bombs were located at all Cook County libraries, according to a Wilmette Police incident report.
The library closed early, and local authorities searched and cleared the scene, the police report says. The Wilmette Police Department did not immediately return The Record’s request for comment.
The Wilmette library is one of several suburban libraries victimized by false bomb threats in August. On Aug. 17, threats reportedly were also made against libraries in Glenview, Park Ridge, Gurnee and Lincolnwood. And on Aug. 20, Wilmette, Park Ridge Oak Park and Warren-Newton libraries were among the threatened local institutions, according to reporting from Daily Herald.
In a statement made on social media, Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias connected the bomb threats to ongoing culture wars that have seen libraries targeted for offering certain books, welcoming members of the LGBTQ+ community and more.
“The bomb threats received by Illinois libraries … represent a troublesome and disturbing trend that has escalated from banning books, to harassing and criminalizing librarians and now to endangering the lives of innocent people,” Giannoulias says in the statement. “I wholeheartedly support our libraries, which are committed to serving our communities as safe, welcoming havens to learn and access ideas and especially our librarians who are dedicated public servants devoted to treating people with dignity and respect.”
The Illinois chapter of the ACLU also chimed in. Chapter Director of Communication Edwin C. Yohnka said in a statement:
“Public libraries are sanctuaries for communities to gather to read, study, go online, get out of the heat and explore new ideas. They are places to build community. For this reason, the recent bomb threats targeting public libraries across the Chicago area are sad and deeply troubling. But these disturbing events cannot be a trigger for giving into those seeking to ban materials and displays from our public libraries.”