Association of Research Libraries
Research Library Issues 289 2016
Counselors warned us that delayed reactions, sometimes occurring
many months out, were commonplace in such situations, and to be
alert to needs that might arise much later. This proved to be true.
Lingering feelings remain among staff who were working during the
time of the shooting. Some discount the important roles they played
that night, barricading doors and keeping people as safe as possible,
while keeping supervisors and first responders informed of what was
happening, helping off-site colleagues to breathe more easily. Their calm
under stress and their ability to keep hundreds of students calm was an
incredible feat.
An important part of the healing process was the support received from
around the country and even the world. In the hours, days, and weeks
that followed, library managers and staff received thousands of e-mails
about the shooting. One of the first was from ARL’s executive director,
Elliott Shore. There were hundreds from other library colleagues,
including some who had experienced traumatic events within their
own libraries. Subsequent conversations with these colleagues were
extremely helpful.
We received a particularly touching note from the librarian at Sandy
Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut:
I am the librarian at Sandy Hook School. I just wanted to reach out to
you today and say that our thoughts are with you and our hearts are
broken for you. I received my MLS from FSU, ironically.… If you want
to pass along my contact info to anyone who might be needing to talk,
please feel free. I know it was very helpful to me when the librarian
from Columbine reached out to me after our shooting.
Student Response
Student groups contacted the library to show support. One group
was given permission to post a vigil banner in the lobby. We put up
our own banners saying “#FSU Strong” on which students could
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