Magazine article Security Management

Library Group to Revise Guidelines

Magazine article Security Management

Library Group to Revise Guidelines

Article excerpt

Many of the world's most valuable books and most precious manuscripts reside in college and research libraries. But these institutions are often ill-equipped to preserve this cultural heritage. Those institutions will soon be receiving help in the form of theft guidelines.

Spurred by major book thefts over the past several years, the security committee of the Rare Book and Manuscript Section (RBMS) is now working on a revision of its 1994 theft guidelines. (The RBMS is a subsection of the Association of College and Research Libraries, which is a division of the American Library Association.) The amended guidelines are expected to address concerns such as when and how to report an incident to police.

Though the current guidelines call for libraries to report theft, the guidelines are vague as to when that should occur. As a result, in past incidents, library officials would wait until they did an inventory before calling the police.

"It could take days or weeks to figure out what was lost," says Everett Wilkie, until recently the chair of the RBMS security committee. With that approach, valuable time was lost, with a potential for the loss of clues from the crime scene. …

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