A custodian last Saturday discovered hateful graffiti scrawled in a restroom at Burlington's Fletcher Free Library that included a swastika and the racial epithet "Die niggers," according to city officials.
Library director Mary Danko and Mayor Miro Weinberger condemned the act as hate speech in a statement issued Friday.
The custodian took a photo of the graffiti and then painted over it, according to Katie Vane, the mayor's communications and projects coordinator. The library employee told Danko about the graffiti when he saw her on Tuesday, and the library director immediately notified the Burlington Police Department.
"Hate speech of any kind in Burlington is unacceptable," Weinberger said in his statement. "It undermines our work to be a welcoming and inclusive community for all, and threatens the diversity that enriches our community. Such an act is particularly troubling when it occurs at our public library, a cornerstone of our democracy that offers free access to information and encourages intellectual freedom and freedom of speech.
"Our library is and must be a safe and welcoming place for everyone," said Danko. "Like public libraries across the nation, our library exists to provide open access to information and ideas in the pursuit of intellectual and personal freedom. This access to knowledge is fundamental to our democracy. Our support of free speech does not translate into tolerance for hate speech."