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[BKARTS] Library weighs anti-theft measures (between 2003 and 2004, the library lost 6 percent of its materials to theft)

Library weighs anti-theft measures
By Rob Gebhart

Monday, February 21, 2005

During the past year, the Moffat County Library collected its first baseline
data regarding how many materials visitors steal.

Library Director Donna Watkins estimated that between 2003 and 2004, the
library lost 6 percent of its materials to theft.

The theft of library materials is a trend Craig resident Kevin Langley has
noticed during his visits to the library. He has often found that items he
wants, such as a $199 audio tape, are unavailable because they've been

Langley suggested during the library board of trustees meeting Monday night
that the board investigate installing a security system to stem stealing.
But library board members said the system would cost more than the materials
that were being stolen. The library currently has no anti-theft system.

Library Chairman Dave Longwell assured Langley that the board would consider
his suggestion during the board's budget process in July.

"I think this is a good point. We need to talk about this as we move into
DVDs and CDs," Trustee Jeff Foster said.

"It seems security is something we need to look at," Longwell said.

The library already keeps its CDs and DVDs behind the counter, Watkins said.
Rare books are kept in cases, and patrons must deposit their driver's
licenses at the front desk before they can receive access to them.

Charlie Watkins of Friends of the Library said the library support group
fixed the alarms on the library's back doors during the summer. That
mitigated the problem of people stealing items by leaving through the

Watkins estimated it would cost $150,000 to install security systems at all
three library branches. Aside from the cost of sensors, entrances would need
to be remodeled and all materials would need to have security strips applied
to them.

She figured it would take five years to collect enough data to confidently
say how much is stolen from the library.

For now, she considers the best security practice to be greeting all patrons
as they enter the library.

Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or rgebhart@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


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