Friday, December 1, 2023

Library installs turnstiles to improve student safety

NewsLibrary installs turnstiles to improve student safety


Changes are coming to Morris Library.

The university’s Morris Library will be adding security turnstiles as per request of Public Safety. The turnstiles will be similar to the ones at the Carpenter Sports Building entrance.

Sandra Millard, the interim vice provost and director of libraries and program director of Morris Library, said the library decided to use turnstile gates because students are already used to that style of security gate.

“We wanted to make the library safer for students,” Millard said.

A security welcome desk, manned by a student security monitor during library operating hours, will accompany these new turnstiles to accommodate visitors. Public borrowers from the community who purchase cards for $25 a year can still use the library and check out books.

“If someone comes in and they are not from the university, they just stop [at the welcome desk] and show some form of ID,” Millard said. “There is no intention to keep people out, it’s simply to have it be safer when they come in.”

The addition of the turnstiles is set to be completed by January. The library staff members are currently advertising the new turnstiles by distributing free lanyards and showing informative “how-to” videos to make students more comfortable with the change. They also plan to hire “gate ambassadors” to assist students for the first few days the gates are in place.

Shelly McCoy, the library’s point person on the turnstile project, said library traffic will not be interrupted by the installation process. It has been arranged to take place over the course of two days, with half of the turnstiles being installed per day to allow for continuous student access during the process. She is working out the final logistics for the addition now.

“We’ve met with Public Safety and they’re working out the internal procedures and processes they will want the student monitor at the desk to follow,” McCoy said. “We have 4,000 to 6,000 people walk in every day and we’re very open.”

The gates will be safe for all users, with handicapped accessible gates exceeding the minimum size requirements and emergency systems in place for the disarming of gates in the event of a fire alarm. Millard, McCoy and the entire library staff are working hard to integrate this safety system while minimizing disruption to library access.

Albert “Skip” Homiak, executive director Public Safety, said adding the turnstiles will provide an access control for people that would otherwise commit crimes in the library. He said there has been an increase in the number of thefts and trespassing complaints in Morris Library, and these turnstiles should deter anyone with bad intentions.

“The university felt it was in the best interest of the students, faculty, staff and visiting guests to create a safe environment at the library,” Homiak stated in an email. “We would rather our community focus on the reason for their visit to the library and not worry about other issues.”




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