Magazine article American Libraries

Multnomah Library Losses Due to Inactive Security Gates

Magazine article American Libraries

Multnomah Library Losses Due to Inactive Security Gates

Article excerpt

The Multnomah County (Oreg.) Library is in the midst of a security review after officials determined that 18,786 items--0.8% of its collection of 2.4 million items--had been reported missing in the first half of 2005. The library has also reported theft rates of 1.5% in 2003 and 1.9% in 2004.

The action follows the May indictment of Binh Huu Hoang, 19, for allegedly stealing $3,000 worth of CDs and DVDs from the system's Midland branch, according to the June 11 Portland Oregonian. Reports about Hoang's case revealed to the public that the library had stopped using its 3M security gates in the three largest branches during the late 1990s, when former library director Ginnie Cooper unplugged the system after repeated false alarms.

While the security gates' manufacturer recommends installing them no more than three feet apart, library officials explained in a memo to the board of commissioners that the gates had been set wider to accommodate patrons in wheelchairs, which meant turning the sensitivity up so high that the alarm was frequently triggered in error. …

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