Carlson Library will undergo a series of safety and security upgrades to its facility to better protect students and faculty.
The library underwent a major renovation project this past summer, which included a total redesign of the second floor and an increased number of study rooms. With this overhaul, the library saw an incredible surge in attendance, said Beau Case, dean of University Libraries.
“This year, we are going to break the one million mark for attendance in the library. That is up 40 percent,” Case said.
“It’s a new beautiful space and people want to use it. We have three million pass through on the concourse.”
Case strongly believes in the prioritization of students and their safety.
“This has been a safe building forever and I want to keep it that way,” Case said. “Our priority will always be the students.”
The first upgrade is the installation of a public address (PA) system. This will allow library staff and other officials to communicate with students quickly and effectively.
“We had no way to communicate with the students besides sending staff upstairs,” Case said. “It just seems smart to have some kind of PA system so if we need to communicate with students, we can.”
The PA system will also be useful for university officials, such as the University of Toledo Police Department, to make emergency announcements.
“It’s helpful for the library to operationally announce closing times and whatnot and certainly if there’s any kind of emergency situation” said Jeff Newton, director of public safety and chief of police.
Security cameras were only at Carlson Library’s entrance and exits. The second upgrade plans to add cameras throughout the whole building to reduce possible “incidents,” Case said.
“We’re happy to have those cameras,” Newton said. “Hopefully, it’s a deterrent for criminal activity. It also helps us solve cases. The camera footage is valuable evidence, and often times, it leads to the identification of a suspect that’s taking things that don’t belong to him from our students.”
The video captured by the cameras is only accessible by David Remaklus, director of operations of the University Libraries, along with UTPD. They are only stored on a short-term basis and only reviewed during an investigation of an incident.
Second-year Zuhab Shoib said she is happy the library’s security is being considered.
“I’m at the library a lot and it’s good to know they’re making the place safer,” Shoib said.
Leftover budget from University Libraries funded the PA system, while the provost provided the funds for cameras.
“I’m very pleased, in my mind, it’s usually a good investment when you are investing in security cameras and things of that nature,” said Newton. “We think that it pays dividends for us.”
Case believes that the cameras and PA system will be operational sometime this summer.
The library will also hold its biennial ALICE training this month. ALICE, short for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate, is an active shooter civilian response training program for organizations.
“We’ve been doing ALICE training on campus for many years,” Newton said. “We have a number of officers who are certified ALICE instructors”.