Library Security: Perceptions of Preparedness

Abigail D. Adams, Karen E. Kiorpes


This article details the results of two parallel surveys sent to the heads of campus security and the libraries at 54 schools within the SUNY system. We undertook this study to determine the extent of collaboration between these groups and to learn where library and security staff perceptions of safety and preparedness differ. The findings indicated that most campuses have emergency response plans in place for the possibility of a high-impact violent event or a human-caused emergency.

However, libraries are less likely to have dedicated emergency plans and report an inconsistent mix of physical security measures and staff safety trainings. Overall, both campus security respondents and library staff members feel safe at work and reasonably prepared for a human-caused emergency. Additionally, campus security consistently rated the libraries as safer and more prepared than the librarians rated themselves, and a gap exists in perceptions of the frequency and usefulness of collaborations between the two. Security consistently answered that they are closely involved with library trainings and safety measures, while the librarians’ responses ranged from no contact with security to praise for existing collaborations and a desire for more.


campus security; library security; security; safety; planning; emergency planning; active shooter; violence on campus

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