Association of Research Libraries
Research Library Issues 289 2016
it have some sort of gun in it? Again we didn’t know, but our feeling of
responsibility to the students and campus took precedence and drove us
to stay by the doors to let stranded students in.
Waiting…and Not Knowing What News to Believe
After the second of the two initial Bruin Alert messages, communication
from the campus went silent. There was no further official information
after 9:53 a.m. until a message at 11:24 a.m. indicating that the “lockdown
continues.” The same message was repeated 20 minutes later and also
advised others to “not come to campus.” In Powell Library we tried to
call the campus police to find out what they wanted us to do in terms of
adhering to the lockdown, but when we finally got through after roughly
half an hour on hold, their advice was to “use your best judgment.”
In the meantime, we were all using our cell phones and other devices to
try to learn more about what was happening, although getting a strong
cell phone or Wi-Fi signal became increasingly difficult as time passed.
Some of us tuned into local news television feeds, while others relied
on social media to get information. Family and friends texted messages,
a number of which contained updates from news coverage they were
seeing. Rumors were rampant: “There are groups of men dressed in black
with guns roaming the campus;” “It’s a single shooter dressed in black;”
“Multiple people have been killed;” and “Shots have been fired in other
buildings on campus.” The Los Angeles Police Department received
a report of “shots fired at Young Research Library” at 10:47 a.m., and
at 11:19 a.m. there was a “second hand report of shots heard at Young
Research Library, 5th floor.”
Finally, after what seemed an interminable wait, at 12:12 p.m. a Bruin
Alert was sent giving the “all clear” message. Unfortunately the Bruin
Alert system was not robust enough to handle the messaging load, so in
some cases it took more than 10 minutes for a text to arrive. This was
especially distressing when people were standing in groups and some
received the message long minutes before the others.
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