The Sawyer Public Library Prioritize Security While Remaining Open to All
Library to employ uniformed Security Officers as a part of its safety upgrade plan
Gloucester, MA – – Along with the busy nature of libraries come safety concerns. As a part of their continuing efforts to make one of the largest free and publicly accessible indoor spaces in Gloucester more secure and welcoming, the Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free Library (SFL) have announced that it has employed full time uniformed safety/security officers. The trained and vetted security officers from SafeOfficer Blue, Inc. are expected to officially begin on February 5, 2019.
This important initiative is another step in SFL’s overall comprehensive plan to curb recent unwanted and illegal activities and improve overall safety and security. The added safety/security officers along with upgrades to security cameras, a ramped-up and continued visible police presence, specialized staff training, and targeted physical modifications inside the building are part of a coordinated effort to make the library safer for patrons and library staff. These efforts have been instituted while remaining steadfast to the library’s core mission of providing a welcoming place for all.
“The safety of our patrons and staff is Sawyer Free Library’s highest priority,” stated John T. Brennan, the Sawyer Free Library’s Board of Trustees President. “We continue to strive to strike a balance between offering a broad open door policy for all community members and ensuring a safe, secure environment. People of all ages from across Gloucester count on Sawyer Free Library to be a warm and welcoming place and feel safe to pursue their informational, educational, and recreational needs from reading books with children to accessing technology like computers and the Internet to enjoying its diverse programming.” Brennan continues by saying, “We hope that the security officers and the other recent upgrades will be a welcome addition to SFL. The fact is that people can and should feel safe at their local library and it is an important message we need to send out to the community.”
Safety/Security officers will be a visible presence at SFL during all regular operating hours. Their responsibilities will include working with library staff to ensure the security and safety of all library patrons and staff members, treating everyone with respect and flexibility while maintaining order. The security team will monitor the interior and exterior of the facility including the parking lot along with visitors’ behavior using guidelines established in library policies. The officers are professionally trained to de-escalate situations, deter unwanted behavior and serve as a reassuring presence for all patrons. Local police will support all security efforts and continue to be an active presence at the library.
The SFL Board of Directors made it a priority by working with SafeOfficer Blue, Inc. to secure retired police officers, who are friendly and approachable as well as familiar with the Cape Ann community. It is the hope that their presence will be less likely to meet with concern and they can apply their knowledge of local resources and social services available in the Gloucester area and beyond to help address the needs of at-risk individuals using the library. Their efforts will help to alleviate some of these burdens on the librarians and allow SFL staff to focus on their work and provide much-needed library related services and engaging programming to patrons without constant worry about managing behavior.
Recently to great success, SFL also implemented a new policy’s concerning bathroom access which has dramatically helped to reduce the number of adverse incidents occurring onsite. Patrons can also now find SFL’s code of conduct posted at every entrance, making behavior expectations clear to all.