Quick—how do you deal with a patron who is wearing a big coat on a hot day? Who do you tell when your shelver trips and breaks their arm rearranging the westerns? What can be done about the DVDs you keep having to replace because they go missing from the collection so often? If you are lucky, you can consult with your security team on these issues.
Your library staff and patrons deserve the security of mind that comes with a security team. They can help with:
- Regulating unruly customers.
As painful as it is to admit, not all who walk into the library are looking to enrich their lives peacefully. Fortunately, a good security worker can defuse a situation before it gets out of hand, whether it’s ejecting someone who is intoxicated or helping a lost child find their parent.
- Keeping buildings and collections up to safety codes
In conjunction with maintenance staff, security officers also work with local safety officials to make sure all areas of the library (including physical storage areas) comply with fire codes and any other physical safety measures that must be taken, whatever the shape of the building.
- Protecting both patrons and employees during emergencies
Ideally, all staff would know exactly what to do in case of a sudden fire, structural collapse, tornado, or on-the-job injury. Security workers strive toward that optimism while staying alert to the busy realities of everyday work life. They are there not only for direction and guidance during a real disaster but may also provide training or disaster drills.
- Coordinating and updating building access.
As the eyes and ears of the library, security officers are in charge of the flow between the public and staff-only areas. This includes keeping updated, ongoing records of new and exiting employees—including volunteers, staff from other locations, members present for library board meetings, and cleaning, construction, or other third-party workers—not only to make sure only those authorized are coming and going but also to track where keys and access cards are at all times. In conjunction with human resources or on its own, the safety and security office can help keep the library’s backstage free and clear of trespassers.
Library security is an often-overlooked but incredibly important job on both a day-to-day and big-picture basis.
Griffin, Melanie. “I’m Not Actually a Librarian: Volunteer Coordinator.” Public Libraries Online. January 15, 2016.