The Nashville Public Library system was forced to close its stores on Thursday after receiving an anonymous bomb threat via email — the latest in a string of similar scares across the country in recent times.
The police noted that the message probably came from outside of Tennessee and was not credible in Nashville, according to NewsChannel 5. But library administration has decided to temporarily close their locations upon receipt of the email, not targeting a specific industry.
“It’s the norm now. This is domestic terrorism.” Nashville City Councilwoman Ginny Welsch told NewsChannel 5, “It tries to scare us all, and a library really is the perfect destination for things like this because it’s a place of knowledge, information and history.”
Libraries across the country have also received threats in recent weeks, usually arriving over the Internet from somewhere other than the destination, although it’s not known if they’re linked.
Earlier this month, employees at the Salt Lake City Public Library received a bomb threat which did not mention a specific branch, according to ABC4 in Utah. An employee found an unattended bag near a building, but local law enforcement found no explosives during a search and said the public was not at risk.
More threats came this week.
On Monday, an employee of the Fort Worth Public Library in Texas received three emails indicates a bomb threat, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. A spokesman for the library told the news included no explanation because of the threat, but 17 stores were evacuated early and closed. Law enforcement determined the emails came from outside the United States and were not credible. The libraries reopened the next day.
Then the Denver Public Library closed its branches Wednesday after receiving an “unspecified threat” overnight, 9NEWS reported in the Colorado capital. A nearby high school was also closed that day after a threat was circulated on social media. according to local outlet 11 News.
Hoax threats appear to be an escalation of a conservative culture war that began last year right-wing groups directing their anger at public libraries for hosting LGBTQ- or racial justice-themed events and books.
have extremists protested “drag queen story hours” who label family-friendly events as a haven for pedophiles. A Record number of books threaten bans. Religious organizations have risen campaigns to prevent people from reading books about LGBTQ communities, and librarians have left their jobs amid harassment.
Then there are the conservative parents who are determined to remove books they don’t like from the institutions. A Michigan city voted to defund its own library because it had books featuring LGBTQ characters that some residents theorized were actually pornography or a stepping stone to child abuse.
And many Republican officials have not shied away from joining the false panic. Last year, Texas State Assemblyman Matt Krause distributed a list of hundreds of books he suggested school districts should review. Llano County officials Closure of the public library system – although it is not part of the school system – to review titles and remove any deemed questionable. Local residents have since filed a lawsuit.
The source of the bomb threats and messages targeting libraries is still a mystery. But their effect is similar to that of other anti-facility campaigns this year: sowing chaos and confusion, harassing staff — and closing facilities, albeit temporarily.