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« Can you ban gay characters from novels in libraries? | Main | How did library issues fare under the last Congress? What's in our future? Remarks by Mary Alice Baish, AALL »

December 02, 2004

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Libraries have meetings on how to design and staff buildings for optimal security, and the more attention given to this the better.

Yet the reality is that libraries are public places, and you can't keep all the unknown bad people out.

During my years working in libraries, I saw several flashers myself, and called the police each time (too late to prevent it of course). One time a girl reported that she'd been molested in our library. We called the police, again too late to prevent it. That was in a branch that had a part-time security guard.

There is a general misguided sense out there that libraries are safe places. My question still remains: what responsibility do librarians have to educate the public as to the risks they face in the public library?

"What is the library responsibility to the public in letting them know about such risks? Should libraries ever post "safe place" placards ? Should libraries engage in educational efforts to show that libraries are not safe? Will this scare patrons away?"

What would a librarian do in a restaurant if s/he saw a child being accosted? What would a librarian do in a park when a child was being assaulted? What would a librarian do in a mall. . . at the zoo. . . on a hay ride. . . in a museum.

I'm truly amazed that librarians will need to have a meeting and discuss child safety in public places. If night clubs can legally have bouncers, why can't libraries?

I love how Jack's instinct is to treat all adults like criminals and to support banning them from areas of the library.

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