Two more armed robberies in my building this morning. I was out today because it’s my birthday (or, the anniversary of Tank Day in my family: my birth story involving transportation by National Guard tank is here), so I missed all the hullabaloo, including one colleague throwing out the idea that librarians should start patrolling the floors with pepper spray and walkie talkies.
(NB: I would like to go on record here that THERE IS NO WAY IN HELL that I am volunteering to “patrol” any part of the library for criminal behavior. That is so very much NOT MY FREAKING JOB, and the person who is suggesting this has always had, shall we say, a rather exaggerated sense of what our responsibilities to our students are.)
Here’s the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on where things are.
This paragraph makes me want to bang my head against walls: “One factor at play may be the isolated study areas of the library, which may allow robbers to remain hidden, Mullis said.” Previous comments by the police in the student paper had also suggested that students wanting to study “alone” might be a “problem.”
IT’S A LIBRARY. IT’S OK FOR STUDENTS TO WANT TO STUDY IN QUIET SPACES. REALLY.
The local NPR story on today’s incidents makes it sound like we have crackerjack security systems in place to make sure only students get in. Not at all the case; our security actually seems pretty lax and seems also to be mostly student workers. (Not to put student workers down, just meaning more to suggest how security gets hired and paid. We probably do need more professional security staff).
Closing to the general public is probably something we should have done awhile ago, but it’s an issue because we have a certain mandate to be open to the public (I think because of our government documents?). I think it’s a good step, though.
I’ve been inclined to think metal detectors, but it’s been pointed out that they would go off constantly because of the laptop traffic. (Laptop theft is not uncommon in the library; you really, really don’t want to leave your laptop unattended. The difference now is that these are, um, attended laptops that are being stolen).
So I don’t know. I will say that it is a strange feeling to have some of your workplace’s significant problems suddenly laid bare for public viewing—in this case, the laxness of our security, but for me personally, at a deeper level, the very real communication issues we experience on a pretty regular basis. People expect me to be able to tell them what’s going on (hey, I’m supposed to be the department liaison, right?) but there’s literally nothing being told to me, so I’m as much in the dark as faculty and students are. Which is not a comfortable thing, but it’s especially uncomfortable when you feel like you’re not supposed to reveal this lack of communication… while at the same time feeling like an idiot because you look like you just aren’t very smart.
The colleague keeping the count of number of days without an armed robbery said he came in this morning and found that someone had set the number back to zero, since his start time was after this morning’s two robberies.biography of Margaret Fuller, and relieved that I’ve gotten through the Transcendental section, because I kept imagining Captain Awkward‘s advice to Fuller on her relationship with Emerson, which was pretty much DTMFA. Or, rather, “Dump the MF-ing Transparent Eyeball Already” (DTMFTEA).