We recently had an incident at the library which left our student closers a little weirded out. They were not harmed nor were they in immediate danger, but their Spidey senses were definitely tingling with a couple of patrons. And I am never one to not trust my gut on things like this (hey double negative, how’s it going?) so we encouraged them to call the cops any time something like this happened. We had it set up for police to patrol at closing time to make the students less anxious but also to provide a presence for those patrons who may or may not have had nefarious activities planned.
However, security really seemed flippant about the situation. Apparently this has not been a concern for them in the past. And that troubled me greatly. As a woman and as one that grew up in a bigger city, I am always keenly aware of my surroundings and actively avoid putting myself in dangerous situations.
So I spoke up about this. A lot. I gave Plan B options. I volunteered my time. I called security and followed up on the situation. I was not going to let this one get swept under the rug.
I actually apologized for being so knee jerk about what happened. And I thought for a while why I was having such a passionate reaction to it. And in truth, it stems from working closing at another library. We had an incident there that creeped me out and campus security gave me unacceptable answers about how to handle future situations and defend myself. And when I mentioned how displeased I was with their suggestions, I was dismissed as being too concerned about the situation.
I can never be too concerned about my life. Or the lives of others. And don’t ever try to make me think otherwise. I cannot say that enough.
As it turned out, as my coworker and I closed on Friday, we had a similar run in with one of the same patrons. And I did not hesitate to call security to have them assist me with the situation. Turns out he’s made his presence known in other building’s on campus and by us calling, they were able to talk to him, get his name and set some ground rules for him. So I am reassured that while I felt like perhaps initially we were being brushed off, that if an emergency arose, they would be there to help.
As I was joking about the situation to a friend of mine (because that’s what I do to mask the anxiety), she said “it’s not a real library job without a creeper”. As sad a statement as it is, ask anyone who has worked in a library and they will recount their fair share of creeper stories as well. The best thing we can do is be safe and aware of what’s going on.