Some of the milder graffiti still remains on the walls behind the Caribou Library with library staff working on measures to clean it up and prevent it from happening again. Credit: Paul Bagnall / The Star-Herald

CARIBOU, Maine — Graffiti of obscene language and images is still on the brick walls of Caribou Public Library after almost a year.

The library has been trying to clean the graffiti off the building but it won’t all come off.

Vandals used spray paint and permanent markers to write profanity along the brick walls and the library doors last fall. They also covered the gazebo in graffiti, according to Peter Baldwin, library director.

Power washing and scrubbing removed much of the profanity, but solvents and wire brushes can’t seem to take off the rest of the images and graphic wording from the brick on the back of the building, Baldwin said

Workers will try a more powerful industrial cleaner that is supposed to wash the brick without destroying it, he said. If all else fails, the library staff will have to paint over the brick. A coat of stain covered the graffiti on the gazebo, Baldwin said.

“From my understanding of the video footage and my conversations with the police back then, it was just some teenagers,” Baldwin said.

The first graffiti was reported to police on Sept. 29, 2022, and the second incident was reported on Nov. 7, 2022, by separate people, according to Michael Gahagan, Caribou police chief. Police are looking into two people who could be charged with criminal mischief, he said.

“When we came in [to work] on Monday morning  [Nov. 7], there were police in our backyard,” Baldwin said.

A child found a video on TikTok of the graffiti on the library’s back wall, and the mother called the police, he said.

The TikTok video was a part of the second incident reported to Caribou police, Gahagan said.

The library has since installed a motion sensor camera, but has seen no activity. There also has been no evidence of any people experiencing homelessness living behind the library, Baldwin said.

Caribou Library had been trying to obtain a grant to install a floodlight and a new security camera. But with the vandalism, the library wants to expedite the installation, maybe as soon as next month, Baldwin said.