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portal: Libraries and the Academy 2.2 (2002) 340-341

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Book Review

Protecting Library Staff, Users, Collections, and Facilities:
A How-To-Do-It Manual

Protecting Library Staff, Users, Collections, and Facilities: A How-To-Do-It Manual.Pamela Cravey. (How-to-do-it Manuals for Librarians, no. 103) New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, 2001. 175p. $55 (ISBN 1-55570-392-5)

In this how-to-do-it manual, Pamela Cravey presents library security as an on-going process rather than a one-time event to remedy security problems on a temporary basis. Library security is emphasized throughout the manual as an essential element of the library's overall service plan and as important to library users and employees as the library's other services. Cravey provides a blueprint for planning, training and implementing a security plan that includes a scan of the environment, a security audit, and an analysis to determine the library's assets and vulnerabilities.

The manual outlines the process for developing a tailored and evolving security program for collections, users, employees, and facilities. This is key during a time when library users have high expectations and library collections include expensive electronic collections, valuable special collections, and computer files and equipment. The author first gives an overview of security issues in libraries, detailing ways to plan, organize, and audit security to create a comprehensive security plan and to assure a secure environment for users, staff, collections and the facilities. Legal issues associated with local and state laws are discussed in the context of forming an overall security plan (what to do, ownership, and probable cause).

Interestingly and very importantly, the manual highlights some areas that are usually not discussed in works on library security. Cravey's search of the literature indicates that there is nothing on the topic of security for special events, such as sporting, cultural, or political conventions. She offers tips for dealing with events that may affect traffic and staffing patterns in a library during major events. She explores personnel issues such as pre-employment screening and termination policies to avoid risks to the organization. The manual presents measures that can enhance the perception and reality of a safe library.

Pamela Cravey is Associate Professor Emerita and former Head of Access Services at Pullen Library, Georgia State University. She is currently working as an independent [End Page 340] consultant in areas of administrative planning, material management, and research. Her education and thirty-year experience in public services and library management at four academic libraries make her an expert on developing and implementing security programs. She has worked with university administrators, police, judges and prosecutors; testified in court; and written hundreds of library incident reports. Her experience as a front-line security provider in academic libraries has given her expertise that is evident in her realistic descriptions of the problems, issues, and definitions. Cravey's intuitive practical solutions and samples of materials are presented in a manner that can be used by any librarian.

As the author notes, "little in library education or continuing education classes prepares a professional to effectively design or implement a security program for their library" (p. vii). Protecting Library Staff, Users, Collections, and Facilities is a valuable work because it gives information that may be used by those with responsibility for providing security in their libraries. The manual's organization, including the outlined and bulleted listing style, makes it easy to read for its informational value. References, samples, tips, and summaries throughout the work are very useful and may be customized and researched in more depth by librarians.


Shirley R. Thomas
Virginia Commonwealth University



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pp. 340-341
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