library security and implications for libraries

cat and kitten walking
The adventures of Tommy Postoffice: the true story of a cat / by Gabrielle E. Jackson (1910)

42nd chat, September 22 2015: library security and implications for libraries
6pm Pacific / 7pm Mountain / 8pm Central / 9pm Eastern

Moderated by @BNTdynomite
Storify (pdf, html) by @oksveta

Topic: With issues of open and concealed carry being played recently in state legislatures and in the courts, the issue of security in public spaces, including schools, public libraries, and college campuses. Public libraries, such as in Michigan and Virginia (see: and have been targets for public protests for the Open Carry movement. Texas legistlature recently passed a bill to allow for colleges and universities to have open carry campuses. In light of these recent events, library security has a lot to unpack in terms of balancing creating safe spaces accessible to all and respecting indiviudual rights to free speech, privacy, and other state and federal rights. This topic can look at different types of security measures libraries use (guards, gates, cameras, signing in physically or electronically, etc.) and whether these are reactive tactics or if they are hindrances to creating an inviting and inclusive space for the communities they serve.

Suggested readings:

Discussion questions:

  • Q1. What type of safety/security measures does your library employ? Does your library have a code of conduct/set of rules posted?
  • Q2. How effective are these measures/policies in providing a “safe” library space/workplace?
  • Q3. In what ways have these measure/policies infringed on personal privacy/rights or used to discriminate specific users (homeless/teens)?
  • Q4. What local/state/federal laws or outside groups does your library deal with that may interfere with providing a safe and inclusive space?
  • Q5. How do we balance safety/security or dealing with “problematic” users without infringment on individual rights and dignity?

Additional reading: