Thursday, April 29, 2010

Gates, Securing the

Many libraries are equipped with alarmed gates that set off sirens when a patron leaves the building with uncharged items.  It is then up to the librarian to stop the offending patron and administer a humiliating full-body search for the nearly-stolen item.  Some polite strategies for stopping patrons are listed below:
  • Repeatedly say, "Sir?  Sir?!  SIR?!" in escalating volumes.
  • Throw a foam boomerang at the patron's feet.
  • Use a homemade paperclip lasso to rope and hogtie the patron.
  • Equip the alarm to trigger a trap door that will dump the patron into an alligator-filled pit.
  • Shrug in defeat and let them walk away.
Ask the readers: How do you stop patrons who set off your library's security gate?

22 comments:

Graves said...

Personally, I always envision myself leaping over the counter as they make a break for the door.

In one swift movement, I tackle them and we wrestle for possession of the stolen item.

Ultimately they are brandishing some sort of weaponry (be it a pistol, knife, and/or some other large cumbersome object that I would rather not have lodged anywhere in my person).

Often times, however, I find myself wounded by this weapon, only to battle on and eventually subdue the would-be thief whilst numerous attractive co-eds flutter around me to ensure I'm okay and compliment me on my bravery.

Spicing things up is that the perp is always smuggling drugs or baby pandas in their backpack as well, thus making me a national hero.

...and then we all go get cheeseburgers and milkshakes.

In reality, I usually just ask 'em if they've got anything, they say no and leave.

Anonymous said...

*cough* We turned ours off.

Anonymous said...

we deter patrons from setting off the gates by shouting "stop thief" at co-workers that set off the gate.

the fear of public humiliation is a powerful motivator for good living. perhaps libraries could bring back the stocks and pillories (with a 3-strikes rule of course).

badasslibrarian said...

We stare pointedly at our dozing security guard as the patron runs off.

Anonymous said...

Shout "Unleash the Dogs!!!"

Jeff Scott said...

Graves, I actually had a staff member leap over the counter and chase a patron down an alley into a waiting police car. She was 50.

Anonymous said...

Nerf gun. 'Nuff said.

Anonymous said...

Gates?

lordjim said...

We just politely ask them to step back through, hand us the items they checked out and we check the receipt with what they have. Ninety nine times out of 100 ours goes off when a patron doesn't use the self check machine properly. Receipt matches items in hand and one of them still has their security device activated. I <3 working in a polite community!

Anonymous said...

If only we'd realized we needed to put security tags on the expensive computers rather than the cheap dvds...

Anonymous said...

Generally I call them back and ask if they have any books that they checked out from another Library...strangely enough this is usually the case.

Also, it is a fun practical joke to put a security strip in the lining of a collegues coat before they leave to go shopping somewhere :)

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I get asked what would happen ifthey had just kept on walking.
I tell them that the Library S.W.A.T. team would come out of the ceiling on ropes and point laser guns at them with the little red lights on their forehead.
Sometimes they even believe me. I know because they look up as they leave. Snicker!

Anonymous said...

Our gates seem to go off more when people enter the library which is difficult to explain to bewildered patrons.

shushie said...

Channeling Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka, we gently say, "No, stop, don't" as they continue on their merry way. Occasionally we can get our 85-year-old security guard lady to raise an eyebrow if she's not out back taking her zillionth smoking break.

The Squeaky Cyclist said...

I'd LIKE to have some of those lasers from the old Andromeda Strain movie, but alas...

The local PL does not unzap their books, thank you very much. As noted before, it seems to detect more better on people coming into the our library.

Anonymous said...

We turned ours off too, but pretend that it is still on.

TPN said...

No lie, something about the sensitivity settings on our gates caused them to go off when the ridiculously powerful hand dryer in the nearby men's room was running. Consequently, we unplugged them. Mostly, I'd rather let patrons take the entire library than have the awkward interaction of searching their wares.

Anonymous said...

Our branches switched to printed receipts and stopped using cards to deactivate our tags, so anybody returning books to our location set off our alarms coming in, which confused them to no end. "But they're checked out!" they'd insist. The people who wanted to steal books knew to tear out the pocket pages--and to stash the cracked open dvd cases in the ceiling of the mens' rooms. Now that we've deactivated the gates, we still have the odd honest patron concerned about not getting stamped cards for each book thinking they're going to set off the alarm on the way out. Bless their pure little hearts.

Anonymous said...

The shrug in defeat thing.

Anonymous said...

Putting security gates on the washrooms would be more effective. I am not suprised to find out many libraries don't have their gates activated. The branch PL I worked in didn't even have gates. One time we had a guy stuff a book down the front of his overalls...needless to say none of us wanted to go there, so he got away.

Anonymous said...

We did unplug ours until the alarm company came and DRILLED the plug into the socket.

Princess said...

yep, we gave up too. But most people believe they're on so that's cool with us:)