Woman charged for torching books at Tacoma library

A Tacoma woman is accused of trying to set a library on fire. It happened on a busy Saturday at the Tacoma Main Library, forcing about 250 people to evacuate. Janet Kim reports.

Tacoma, Wash. -- A Tacoma woman is in jail, accused of trying to set a library on fire. It happened on a busy Saturday at the Tacoma Main Library, forcing about 250 people to evacuate.

After nearly 30 years of working at the Tacoma Public Library, this was a first for community manager David Domkoski. The fire damaged more than a dozen books and a shelf.

"The books were here, and she lit them," said Domkoski. "She poured lighter fluid over them, damaged the shelf."

Sharon Sailly has been charged with arson. She is accused of torching books after buying lighter fluid and a lighter at a nearby store. She is no stranger to library workers.

"She is a regular patron of the library," said Domkoski. "She's here virtually every day, and we don't know."

Most of the books damaged were in the American History section and consisted of biographies of George Bush, Ronald Reagan, and Richard Nixon.

Library workers don't believe the motive was political. According to court documents, Sailly admitted she had an issue with a library worker earlier in the day and admitted to wanting to burn down the library.

"It's very upsetting," said Domkoski. "It's upsetting to our patrons. First they were robbed of using the library all day Saturday, which is a very busy day for us, and burning books? Yeah it hurts."

Sailly pleaded not guilty Monday. Her bail has been set at $500,000. Prosecutors said she has been convicted of arson before and she's a danger to the public.

The Tacoma main library is the busiest in the system. It's located in the heart of downtown. Just last month, it had nearly 19,000 visitors.


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