Association of Research Libraries
Research Library Issues 289 2016
Christian was the nighttime security manager in Strozier Library. His
shift started at midnight, and arriving at work he followed his usual
routine: a brief chat with the two security staff in the lobby, followed by a
top-to-bottom walk through the building. He was in the basement when
a voice crackled over the radio. “There’s an emergency up front!” As he
ran up the stairs to the main service desk on the first floor, Christian
asked everyone he saw what was happening. No one knew. Fireworks?
Maybe a gunshot? He heard shouts and screams. He ran into the lobby—
straight into the source of the commotion.
The first-floor Commons was packed with students. From his office in the
Commons staff suite, “Zachary,” Strozier Library’s overnight coordinator
who would like to remain anonymous, heard a loud pop. The noise
seemed to come from the library entrance just around the corner. A book
dropping to the floor? A turnstile mishap? Not an uncommon sound in
busy Club Stroz.
But when Zachary walked out onto the floor of the Commons, “it was
as if time had frozen. Everyone stopped what they were doing to see
where the sound came from.” Just then he saw Nathan, a security
desk attendant, jump over the turnstiles that separated the lobby from
the Commons, yelling, “There’s someone with a gun!” Zachary was
horrified to see that Nathan was wounded and bleeding: the pop had
been a gunshot to Nathan’s leg. While a coworker tended to Nathan’s
injury, another dialed the campus police. Zachary called his supervisor,
Michelle, at home.
As Christian frantically warned students to seek protection, many
ignored him, instead filming him with their phones. “Some students
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