Safety and Security in Libraries

Safety in public spaces, including libraries, has always been a concern, but may be more keenly felt in light of certain recent events. A productive and effective library is one in which its staff and patrons feel secure.

The ALA Library's Safety and Security page, linked from Topics A to Z of our Professional Tools, presents several sets of guidelines, including the 2010 Library Security Guidelines (PDF), devised by the Safety & Security of Library Buildings Committee of the Building and Equipment Section of the Library Leadership and Management Association, and also the 2009 ACRL/RBMS Guidelines Regarding Security and Theft in Special Collections of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries.

Also featured is a brief bibliography, including The Black Belt Librarian: Real-World Safety & Security by Warren Graham and The Library Security and Safety Guide to Prevention, Planning, and Response by Miriam B. Kahn. Several additional book titles are on the OCLC WorldCat.org list, Disaster Planning for Libraries - Library Safety and Security.

This is the topic of the upcoming fourth American Libraries Live session, Library Safety and Security, on Thursday, March 14, 2013, at 1:00 P.M. Central Time.  Should you be unable to attend the free live video streaming session that afternoon, it will be archived and freely available to watch any other time.

Back in 2012, as reported in Laurie Borman's article, "To Catch a Library Thief: Black Belt Security," author Graham spoke at the PLA National Conference in Philadelphia, where he presented two checklists  -  reproduced in the article - of advice, "one for communities that are building a new facility and can design security into the architecture, and a list for encouraging safety in an existing building." Also see the brief slideshow that accompanied Graham's June 6, 2012 ALA Editions workshop, 12 Essential Elements for a Safe and Secure Library, over on SlideShare, and see the PDF excerpt provided for Black Belt Librarian, which includes the full text of the book's introduction, in which, with humor, Graham recalls his years working as the security manager of the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County along with some of the more colorful adventures in the start of his second career as a traveling library security expert, as well as the full text of the first chapter, titled, "Inmates Running the Asylum: Stories from the Front Trenches."

Kahn's book is also available as a Library Security eCourse, a self-paced tutorial adapted from the book that is organized into eight lessons, estimated to be four hours of instruction.

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