Gone are the days of magnanimous and unfettered welcome to public buildings. We know why you cannot park in front of a courthouse or government building anymore. We know why we have to strip to get past security on the way to our next destination.
But still, when you work in a public building, you feel a small bubble of protection when nothing has gone wrong for a certain length of time. Time helps you forget the last “bad thing.” If we had those events constantly in the forefront of our minds, we would never come back to work. Look at the smiling faces of these smart and helpful folks. They work in a library. It is a nice place. But sometimes bad things can happen in nice places.
Recently we have had some “bad” situations. Situations where the cops had to be called, the panic button had to be pushed, and staff had to shout from the top of the stairs. Heck, we evacuated the building for one of these incidents.
Public safety is always a priority. But what about staff safety? Staff sanity? Staff morale? Chances are if you are a library patron you will never be subjected to this sort of fear. But staff have to put on their invisible protective gear and return to this place where people are angry, fearful, stressed and mistrustful.
We cannot promise perfect and constant protection from the evil or the sick. We ask a lot of the front line folks who have a constant “shoe-drop” mentality in the back of their minds. When will the next danger present itself? When can we feel safe again?
We are reviewing our security procedures, practicing emergency drills, yada yada. But isn’t it all just a matter of time before it happens again? Suggestions welcome.