Academic journal article Journal of Library Innovation

The Black Belt Librarian: Real-World Safety & Security

Academic journal article Journal of Library Innovation

The Black Belt Librarian: Real-World Safety & Security

Article excerpt

Warren Graham. Chicago: American Library Association, 2012. 80 pp. ISBN: 978-0-83891-137-2. $45.00.

"It's a bloody library, and it should look and feel like one," (p. xvi) author Warren Graham acknowledges in the opening pages of his updated The Black Belt Librarian: Real-World Safety & Security. "Just because we are a 'public building' doesn't mean you can build a campfire in the middle of nonfiction" (p. xvi).

True, that. It's also true that Graham's 20+ years of patrolling a multi-branch library district and hearing countless stories from front-line library staffon his national speaking tour give him more than a little anecdotal evidence for his straight-up, pull-no-punches approach to personal security.

Also true: Graham is not a librarian. As readable as this short thesis may be, Graham's writing shows definite bias toward stereotypes library professionals have rallied against for years.

At times, this style is acceptable; his stab at humorous library marketing phrases leads into a concise and useful list of twelve fundamentals for safe and secure operations at the library. On the other hand, there are times when Graham just does not seem to appreciate who his audience actually is. "Why in the world would anyone who does not like people want to work in a library?" (p. 23) he writes, shocked and dismayed. His assumptions about library spaces and staffdo little to support the supervisor who is trying to engage employees in new or better service models. …

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