Library Board Considering Extra Safety Measures
Byline: Ames Boykin
Des Plaines library officials are discussing additional safety measures based on the results of a study by a security official from Wisconsin.
Dick Sem presented his findings to the board this week. Sem began surveying the security at the library four months ago, well before the discussion on the Internet filters at the library began.
Still, the timing of delivering a report on improvements to library security seemed well-timed.
Sitting in the audience were parents who have complained that allowing patrons unrestrained access to the Internet attracts pedophiles or other criminals. The parents were waiting for the board to approve a proposal to filter its adult computers.
The library board unanimously approved plans to filter its adult and staff computers in addition to the children's computers, which are already filtered.
Sem said the children's area was a concern because of the easy access, making it easier for middle school students to smuggle out CDs or DVDs.
He has recommended the library increase the number of security monitors and visible cameras. Sem also told the library board there should be more training for library monitors. Staff members told him they felt uncomfortable about confronting patrons.
He also said there needs to be more of an emphasis that parents need to watch their children more closely because the library is a public place.
The study is being forwarded to the building and grounds committee for discussion, but the recommendations are expected to increase the library's budget next year.
Because a library by nature must welcome the masses, it makes security a tricky issue, Sem said. …