'Suspicious' package at Willowbranch Library contained audio book reader

Controversinal LGBTQ prom scheduled Friday at library was canceled

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A package found Thursday morning on the book drop of a Jacksonville branch library where a protest was held Wednesday caused concern and a lockdown of the immediate area and was rendered safe about an hour later by the bomb squad.

Library spokesman Chris Boivin said a white box with unusual writing on it was found on top of the book drop of the Willowbranch Library in Riverside. Given heightened tensions at the library this week after the cancellation of a controversial LGBTQ event, administrators called police.

Just after noon, a technician in a bomb suit inspected the package and found it contained an audio book reader that was being returned to the library, Boivin said.

An area behind a shed near the intersection of Cherry and Lydia streets was surrounded by police tape and other streets in the area were closed to traffic. About 45 minutes after police arrived -- shortly after a boom was heard -- the bomb squad began packing up to leave.

The Willowbranch Library has been in the news this week after an LGBTQ prom for teenagers planned to be held there Friday was abruptly canceled. A small protest was held there Wednesday, and there were calls for the library director to resign.

"It's always concerning when something unusual comes up that threatens a branch ... especially with some unusual tension focused on this branch this week," Boivin said.

The controversy over the canceled prom has not ended. A self-identified drag queen who was to be a part of the prom event told News4Jax that another protest will be held at the library Friday afternoon.

About the Authors:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.

Digital election producer in 2022. He created WJXT.com in 1995 and managed The Local Station's website through 2021.