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Association of Research Libraries
Research Library Issues 289 2016
Editor’s Note
M. Sue Baughman, ARL Deputy Executive Director and RLI Editor
As I write this introduction to this Research Library Issues on library and
campus safety, I see an e-mail in my inbox about a shooting at The Ohio
State University (OSU) where my niece, Sarah, is a student. I go to the
CNN website to see what is happening and I send Sarah a text asking
if she is safe. Fortunately, I hear from Sarah an hour later that she is no
longer in lockdown on campus and has returned to her apartment.
This incident at OSU and others like it are no longer unusual
phenomenon, unfortunately. Universities and libraries have protocols
for dealing with safety issues and staff are trained to manage these
occurrences. However, when there is a a real emergency, instincts kick in
and people respond in unpredictable ways.
When a shooting occurred in fall 2014 at Florida State University’s
Strozier Library, the ARL community was anxious for news from Julia
Zimmerman, dean of University Libraries, to hear library staff and
users were safe. As Julia points out in this issue’s first article, it took
time to sort through the events of that night and much longer to sort
through the impact the incident had on library staff, students, and the
campus community. Julia and Susannah Miller, associate dean for library
administrative services, tell the story of the staff who were in the library
when the shooting occurred. More important than the details of that
horrific night, however, are the steps taken by the library leadership,
campus, and police following this tragedy, which Julia and Susannah
also describe.
Shortly after we approached Julia in spring 2016 to write about Florida
State’s experience, there was a shooting at UCLA. In this issue’s second
article, Ginny Steel, UCLA university librarian, describes the number of
people pouring into the campus libraries and the desire of library staff
to help everyone be safe, while not knowing where the “active shooter”
was at any given moment. Ginny discusses the lack of information and
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