Association of Research Libraries
Research Library Issues 289 2016
potential criminals or victims.” No one knew, at that point, who the
shooter was, whether he had acted alone or what his motive might be.
Michelle instructed the Dirac staff to lock the building down. If people
were scared and seeking shelter, staff were to let them in, but weren’t to
let anyone leave until there was an all-clear signal from police. Winging
it, Michelle wasn’t sure she was giving staff the best advice. “There could
have been multiple shooters, but many students were panicked about
being left in the open in the dark with nowhere to go,” and it seemed
cruel to deny entrance to them. But other students already in the library
were mad because they weren’t allowed to leave.
Meanwhile, in Strozier Library, the staff led students to the upper floors,
barricaded the stairwell doors, and tried to keep people calm. Some
students had escaped in the first moments after they heard shots but now
the building was in lockdown and no one could leave. There was little
solid information about what had happened and plenty of fear-fueled
speculation and rumors. Students made fortresses out of furniture, hiding
behind overturned tables and in dark corners of the stacks.
It would be hours—an agonizingly long time—until police were finally
ready to clear the building.
The news of the shooting spread rapidly by phone and text. Katie, one of
the FSU Libraries’ associate deans, got the call shortly after 12:30. With
other library administrators out of town or unreachable, Katie felt the
need to respond. She checked Twitter, Facebook, and local news outlets
trying to get a clearer sense of what was happening, but it was futile.
Calls to FSUPD and city police dispatchers revealed nothing. So when
she heard that the all-clear had been announced around 1:30, she drove
to campus.
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