Libraries offer vital resources that go beyond loaning books for the communities they serve. They also generally operate on tight budgets. Replacing stolen property can take a significant bite out of operating costs if it occurs on a large enough scale. Library theft, however, is a serious and ongoing issue. Addressing the threat requires a systematic approach. Here is some expert advice on shoring up theft prevention protocol:
Keep an Accurate Inventory
Maintaining a current inventory of materials is imperative. Tracing stolen goods that have not been accounted for in the library’s collection is a challenging endeavor that can take additional valuable resources. Put procedures in place for adding new items to the inventory and removing those that have been retired.
Mark Library Property
Library possessions should all be marked with a unique stamp of ownership that provides the library name and address. Specialized measures need to be put in place to prevent library theft of online materials. These items also need some sort of identifier to establish library ownership, as well as technologies that prevent permanent downloads.
Ensure the safe storage of new materials until they can be properly inventoried and marked. Likewise, any items that are temporarily taken out of circulation should be kept in a locked area with limited access. Set up detection devices that will alert staff if someone tries to leave the library before checking out.
Libraries are a unique and valuable resource. Theft prevention measures and library insurance ensure the high level of service citizens expect from their local libraries.