The Agnes Robinson Waterloo Public Library Board has established that no staff member shall work alone. No library of any size is immune to threats. They are normally the only public building open evenings or weekends, and that fact attracts people who have no place else to go. Libraries are open to the public, and for this reason, often serve as magnets for predators as well as for legitimate patrons. Such “problem patrons” range from mild nuisances to extremely violent people.
The Library Board resolves to provide a safe work environment for the Library Director and staff and agree first and foremost the greatest preventative measure against violence in the library is never to work alone. Having more than one employee in the library at all times is the best way to assure the safety of the staff as well as the patrons and provide a far less volatile atmosphere.
It is the responsibility of all employers to provide a safe work environment and it is the right of the Library staff to expect a safe workplace. It is the responsibility of the Agnes Robinson Waterloo Public Library Board to assure an adequate number of staff is employed in order to prevent any staff member from working alone whenever possible.
Staff shall be scheduled in such a way as to avoid a working alone situation. However, for those occasions when, due to illness or other circumstances this cannot be avoided, these procedures shall be adhered to if a situation arises and an employee is working alone:
- All unused spaces should be locked.
- All outside lights shall be maintained in working order.
- No tasks involving climbing or heavy lifting shall be undertaken.
- The staff person shall work facing the public and refrain from working in the more secluded areas of the library and carry a telephone with them at all times.
- Staff shall use discretionary measures in situations where a patron requests one-on-one assistance at a computer station or in an area where staff feel vulnerable.
- All library phones shall have emergency numbers posted nearby.
- Any situations of an unsettling nature by staff shall be reported to the Director as soon as possible or within twenty-four (24) hours. If the Director cannot be reached during this time, staff should contact the Library Board President.
- In situations where staff feels threatened and his/her safety, or a patron’s safety, is compromised, the staff should dial 911 immediately and separate themselves from the source, behind a locked door if possible. (Follow the procedures in the Active Incident Policy).
Approved by the Agnes Robinson Waterloo Public Library Board of Trustees on November 19, 2018.