Magazine article Security Management

An Academic Approach

Magazine article Security Management

An Academic Approach

Article excerpt

The ease with which a person could take materials from the library without authorization had become a concern at the Melvin Gelman Library a few years ago, prompting a search for solutions.

The library, a part of George Washington University, in Washington, D.C., was experiencing problems both in the main book stacks and in the periodicals department (library policy dictates that periodicals can be used only on the floor on which the department is located, though they can be borrowed).

As a result, two associate university librarians--one now departed--began what would be a three-year search for a system that could detect when someone was leaving with materials. Early in the process, the detection system from 3M came to the team's attention because it was known to several of the librarians, who had worked with prior incarnations of the system at other libraries. The pair visited several libraries where the detection system was in use to gather more information. They ultimately recommended its selection.

GWU staff decided early in 1998 to purchase and install the 3M detection system for the Gelman Library as well as the GWU law library. The switchover was scheduled for summer 1998. Caroline Long, associate librarian for collections services at the Gelman Library and one of the two who bad made the selection, was tasked with planning for the upgrade to the library collection to accommodate the system selected. The most daunting challenge was that the 3M Tattle-Tape security tags would need to be added to the entire library collection, excluding microforms and similar items.

The tags are made of metal and can be inserted manually or using a mechanized application system. The manual strips have plastic protectors that are pulled off to reveal a sticky backing, which is used to fix them in the book's spine. The tags used in the application machine are in a roll, without the plastic backing. The machines have a flat paddle, which is inserted in the pages of the book or periodical, as close to the spine as possible. The strip is then applied directly to the pages.

To complete the restripping project before the fall semester, the library hired temporary employees. Staff divided the temps into six teams of two people each (another team worked in the law library), plus one supervisor. They began the restripping project during the final week of May. At the start of the project, a team from 3M came to train staff in using the application machines and to help the restripping crews develop a system for applying the tags. …

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