We have all experienced the public’s perception that libraries are quiet peaceful places, in which staff merely sit around and read. This idyllic image is frequently presumed about my library as we are relatively small and rural. Although we have had some significant incidents, such as the elderly gentlemen who drove his car six feet into our building, these are infrequent and we are thankful that we do not often experiences the challenges that some of our more urban colleagues face daily. Still, we are not immune.
Posts Tagged ‘library security’
So, while investigations are quietly underway for recent thefts, what about unsolved book mysteries from 20, 30, 40 or 80 years ago? We can only speculate what public treasures are waiting to be discovered in hidden safes, basements, trunks and cardboard boxes around the world.
Denver’s Channel 9 News sent an undercover reporter into the city’s main public library earlier this year because it has become a central location for crime and drug abuse.
San Francisco Public Library is considering training staff members on how to administer Naloxone if they were to encounter someone overdosing in or around the library.
Without physical staff, some questions are raised: Who monitors the cameras? Who responds to such emergencies? What will the blind spots in the cameras be (like restrooms), and how will they be dealt with? The prevention of theft is a significant concern as well. Certainly a card system and cameras help, but cards and pins can be stolen and hacked, and identities can be hidden from cameras.
Just last month, seventeen libraries in the St. Louis area were victims of a ransomware attack. The cyberattack disabled the library computer system, and the attackers demanded a ransom to bring them back online. What can you do to protect yourself? There are a number of simple steps you can take to protect your library.
Once your library is slated to get a security staff, how do you know what to look for in your personnel search? Former correctional officers and police workers are a good place to start, but there are other aspects to consider and find in your protectors:
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.
Sadly, abuse and neglect exist everywhere. In some states, librarians are mandated reporters, and they get training and develop relationships with trained state personnel. In other places, the librarian’s view is moot. Should librarians everywhere be mandated reporters? I think so.
With news breaking every month or so about a company that has had a serious data breach, is your library prepared to protect your information and library network?
Public libraries are reflections of their communities. This sometimes can include the uglier side of the public, like disruptive behavior, vandalism, or other criminal acts. How can we ensure our libraries are welcoming places?