The Vernon branch of the Okanagan Regional Library was evacuated and closed Monday morning after discovery of unknown powdery substance in book return bin. (Morning Star - file photo)

Okanagan library branch back in business after Monday closure

Discovery of unknown powdery substance in Vernon book return prompts evacuation, closure

Vernon’s Okanagan Regional Library branch was back in operation Tuesday after shutting down Monday morning upon the discovery of an unknown substance in the outlet’s book return.

Library spokesperson Michal Utko said in a four-line release that upon discovery of the substance, the branch was evacuated and closed “to ensure the safety of the public and staff.”

“The Vernon library will re-open and resume regular operation as soon as testing confirms it is safe to do so,” said Utko in the release issued on Monday. The library has not said when it reopened nor what the substance was.

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Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP Const. Kelly Brett said officers were called to the scene almost two hours after the incident occurred, and there was nothing left for police to examine as the substance “was fully airborne at that time.”

“Staff of the Okanagan Regional Library found what they believed to be a unknown white powder substance coating books and the lining of a bin that houses the books from the external return slot,” said Brett. “According to staff, the books were processed and the bin was shaken out, thus leaving the substance airborne.

“The Vernon library, as an abundance of caution, closed the facility and had the affected area cleaned by a bio-hazard team. There were no serious injuries or illnesses reported to the police while on-scene.”



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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