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Association of Research Libraries
Research Library Issues 289 2016
home. Others simply wondered about their safety if a shooter happened
to be waiting off campus or near the perimeter of campus. But just as the
police were about to begin the evacuation process, the all-clear message
came through.
The Aftermath
Once the crisis was over, most students left the library buildings quickly.
Some commented that they wanted to go home to be with family and
friends so they could regain a sense of normalcy. Others were deeply
worried that they had missed exams and end-of-quarter class sessions
that would make it hard for them to finish their academic year. But
by and large, there was a palpable feeling of tremendous relief and
emotional exhaustion.
Library staff experienced similar highs and lows. For many it was a relief
to get back to work, and it gave them the impetus to put the trauma of
the day behind them. We were all aware that finals were looming, and
that helped us move past the severe strains of the day to get back to
business-as-usual as quickly as possible. Even so, some staff suffered
from the aftereffects of a traumatic experience and found relief by
leaving the campus. The campus administration offered counseling
and psychological services and encouraged staff and students to take
advantage of these services. Still, the feelings of anger, betrayal, and
insecurity lingered.
We received a number of comments from students and faculty about our
physical facilities and whether they were equipped appropriately for
an active shooter event. One teaching assistant wrote, “I wonder about
library planning for some ‘old-fashioned’ type room per floor that can
house a lot of students with no windows and equipment that can be used
to barricade doors, or some type of stored ‘barricade’ equipment that
could be implemented in these situations…”
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