Hey, wait a minute, I'm no stinking stool pigeon!
UPD has a suspect for the rash of library thefts that have occurred the last month. They supplied the libraries with a photo of the suspect and have asked us to call UPD if we see this individual enter the library.
I'm all for stopping crime. I want patrons and their belongings to be safe when they come to the library, but it doesn't seem right for us to we start calling UPD when someone just walks through the door.
I know I called UPD on the Ghost
without a second thought. Shoot, I even tracked the Ghost into another library to help police find him, but now I'm beginning to regret that. Not because I don't think the Ghost is a freak and needed to be spoken to, but maybe the library is setting itself up for some sort of unsavory precedent.
Let's see if I can explain this better.
I have no evidence that the suspected thief has done anything wrong. All I've been told is UPD wants library personnel to contact UPD if we see the individual. There's no warrant out for his arrest. There's no charges pending. UPD just wants to speak to him. That's it.
I find myself wondering - Do I have any duty to protect this patron?
Librarians have always been staunch advocates of patron privacy. We've fought the Patriot Act tooth and nail over the release of library records. I believe what a patron checks out should remain private. I can understand and somewhat support the resistance to put filters on the public computers. (I think filter technology is intrinsically flawed. We need to find a better filter, not just have no filters.) But if I'm willing to fight for the patron in these ways, shouldn't I also guard the patron's mere presence in the library?
I find myself facing a moral dilemma that I'm not sure how to handle, and really resenting the fact that I'm forced to deal with it.
If someone comes to a library, shouldn't they have the right to use the library in the manner which is allowed by our policy and not have the cops called on them as soon as they walk through the door?
Should the cops really expect us to be their look outs?
I really don't know.I'm reminded of the suspected pot seller.
I didn't want to point him out to police either. I don't know what became of his arrest. I do know he's not in prison now. I've seen him around town, but I have not seen him in Library X. He may be afraid to return, or he has been told not to. I hope it's the latter and not the former. I'd hate for anyone to be afraid to visit the library.
A thief was arrested tonight. Not the one who we were told to keep an eye out for. The thief is someone my boss and I had suspected prior to the arrest. We'd seen the individual acting suspiciously while down in the stacks on a number of occasions. She was arrested with over $400 cash and a number of gift cards on her, which she confessed to having stolen. I suspected her, but didn't call the cops on her.
I don't know the guy in the photo from Adam. Why should I call UPD on him?
I know UPD has their reasons for suspecting this guy that they probably aren't at liberty to divulge, but because I don't know these reasons, I don't think I should be expected to assist them in contacting him.
I want the thefts to stop.
I feel bad for every student who comes up to report their belongings stolen.
But what about this lone patron? Shouldn't he have the chance to come to the library without being ratted out?
Geez, I haven't ever even met this guy, yet he's given me a major headache.
If anyone has some words of advice, please post them.