Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Assessment of Library User Security in Sam Jonah Library, University of Cape Coast

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Assessment of Library User Security in Sam Jonah Library, University of Cape Coast

Article excerpt

Libraries have over the years been considered as one of the important pillars of civilization (Ebunuwele, Yaya&Krubu, 2011) and for that matter no country can progress without the use of a library. Libraries contain diverse collections which are developed in order to meet the information needs of the user community. In order to achieve the purpose for which a library is established, best practices have to be instituted to ensure the adequate security and protection of library collections from mutilation and theft. Libraries must therefore be very conducive and safe from security threats (Maidabino, 2010) in order to maximize the usage by patrons. In the view of Akor (2013), the primary objective of any security system in any type of library should focus on providing a safe and secure atmosphere for library collections, employees, equipment as well as library users. An atmosphere of safety and security should be provided by library management to users in order for the user to be at ease anytime he or she uses the library either for personal studies or research purposes (Adekanye, 2010). Maidabino (2010) asserts that issues of securing the collection of university libraries has recently become a concern to library management, as such several measures are put in place to mitigate the risk of theft and ensure continuous access to information resources.

There are several researches done on the security of libraries, however, these researches have focused on the security of library materials (Broadhead, 2002; Momodu, 2002; Shashid, 2005; Holt, 2007; Ebunuwele, Yaya & Krubu, 2011). Demonstratively, users are also at risk, as are library materials. Libraries cannot survive without patrons as such patrons should also be protected from unruly behavior by other users or staff. These behaviors may include personal property theft, offensive phone calls, assault against students by staff and fellow users, pickpockets, and indecent exposure amongst others. In the view of Thomas (2000) a safe and secure atmosphere should always be provided for library users.

Problem statement

Even though, there have been extensive studies concerning security of libraries, they did not look into the security of library users. Studies in libraries the world over and particularly in Ghana, have concentrated on mutilation, vandalism and theft of library materials. Some of such studies include (Broadhead, 2002; Ebunuwele, Yaya & Krubu, 2011; Holt, 2007; Momodu, 2002; Shashid, 2005) Meanwhile, Akor (2013) in his studies on library security indicated that the objective of any library security system should not only focus on library collections and equipment but also on library users. Since the library cannot survive without users, it is imperative to provide a safe and conducive environment for learning and research.

Personal observation in the Sam Jonah Library of University of Cape Coast shows that some measures are put in place to ensure to some extent the prevention of theft of library materials by students. Management of the library has invested in instituting measures (such as use of special barcodes, scanners and theft detection machine placed at the exit of the library and placing staff at the exit to detect stolen materials) to reduce significantly the theft of library materials. However, much as management keeps on thinking about securing library materials, much attention should be placed on the security of the library user, especially during extended library services (where the library closes at 10pm and 5am during examinations).There have been cases of phone snatching, stealing of laptops and pen drives of users. It is therefore not out of place to find out the measures that are put in place to ensure the security of users of the library in order to encourage ease during their stay in the library. Thus a scientific enquiry is being done to ascertain the extent to which the security system in the library incorporates users. …

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