Association of Research Libraries
Research Library Issues 289 2016
already had handouts about coping with crisis, and these were especially
useful for people who couldn’t directly access counseling services.
Library Managers’ Situation Room
We set up our own situation room in Dirac Library. Each of us was
experiencing those classic crisis reactions, but being together provided
the therapeutic value of sharing feelings with peers. There was
little we could actually do, as the decisions were being made by top
administration, so we rehashed the night’s events again and again. We ate
donuts and drank coffee. Concrete information was still in short supply
and we monitored social media and the news media for any new facts.
We went over lists prepared the night before by Katie and Bridgett of
things to be done. We still didn’t know how much damage Strozier had
sustained or how much disarray to expect. We wondered when we could
re-enter the library and when we could reopen. We were unclear about
whether belongings of students and staff were still in the library and were
concerned that they were not secure. We worried over our colleague,
Nathan, who had been shot.
Inevitably we talked about how prepared we had been for such an event.
It was obvious that the turnstiles had prevented a much worse tragedy
by keeping Myron May out of the library, with 500-plus students inside
and countless places to hide. On the other hand, it was impossible not
to dissect our security program, looking for things we should have
done differently.
We listened for announcements of press conferences. As the day wore on
and we heard about various gatherings, we made sure to attend. These
public events, both spontaneous and planned, occurred throughout the
day. They drew crowds numbering in the hundreds or even thousands. A
prayer circle was scheduled for mid-morning on Landis Green, in front of
the library. The Student Government Association organized a Gathering
of Unity to be held at 5:00 p.m.
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