Library staff discusses October bomb threat

by Devyn Ivers, Social Media Manager (Instagram)

The library director returned to her desk after a break at 1:45 p.m on Oct. 9. When she logged into her computer, she saw an email with a warning: it was a bomb threat.

Ellen O’Keefe, the library director, never expected to receive a threat in a small, tightly-knit town like ours. However, this incident was very real, and very sudden. 

“I thought ‘Oh no, here we go,’” O’Keefe said. 

After the first email, three others had been simultaneously at 12:53 p.m., while she had been on break. The library was calm, as most children were in school. The only patrons were the employees and two other families. 

As soon as she read over the emails, O’Keefe knew that she had to begin the procedure that was set in place for that type of situation. She emailed the Chief of Police, Dean Ackermann, forwarding him the emails. Next, she spoke with the 911 dispatch. Then, O’Keefe made an announcement over the paging system of the library, telling everyone to evacuate the building. 

“The paging system was something that I had installed when I came here,” O’Keefe said. “I am very grateful that it was in place and operating.”

Luckily, the threatening actions stopped at the emails. A man from Hawthorne, Carlos Pabon, was accused of sending them. He faced public alarm charges, but fled to an unknown location before he could be caught by the police. 

Since O’Keefe became director of the public library in March 2017, no emergency like this one had happened. However, O’Keefe had worked in other libraries where different emergencies occurred, and she helped the Glen Rock employees safely deal with the threats.

The main protocol that she emphasized was for her coworkers to stay calm.

“It can happen anywhere, but it’s a shame it happened here,” O’Keefe said.