Association of Research Libraries
Research Library Issues 289 2016
Shooting at Florida State University Libraries: The Act,
Aftermath, and Response
Julia Zimmerman, Dean of University Libraries, Florida State University
Susannah C. Miller, Associate Dean for Administrative Services
Shortly after midnight on November 20, 2014, a Florida State University
(FSU) alumnus, Myron May, opened fire with a semiautomatic handgun
at FSU’s Robert Manning Strozier Library, injuring two students and
one staff member before the police shot and killed May. This article
describes the events of that night, the aftermath, and the responses of the
university, libraries, and students. We hope this will be helpful to others
who want to prepare for the possibility of something like this happening
in their libraries.
Part 1: That Night
Wednesday, November 19, 2014, had been unseasonably cold in
Tallahassee. At midnight there were over 500 students in Strozier
Library, Florida State University’s main library. Open 24/5, “Club Stroz,”
as it is affectionately known, is situated at the north end of Landis Green
in the midst of residence halls and classroom buildings. Strozier Library
is FSU’s most popular late-night gathering place. On the early morning
of November 20, with final exams just a few weeks away, Club Stroz
was buzzing.
Library security had become a priority at FSU’s libraries several years
ago in the wake of a criminal incident—a sexual assault in Strozier’s
stacks. A security force of four full-time staff, supported by student
workers and public safety officers from the FSU Police Department
(FSUPD), monitored visitors at a counter in the library’s lobby. There,
visitors checked in, were quietly vetted, and then received a temporary
swipe card for the nearby turnstiles. Members of the FSU community
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