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Nanuet Library Board Discusses DVD Thefts

Safety, building maintenance and theft of DVDs are among issues discussed.

 

The Nanuet Library’s Board of Trustees held their monthly meeting on Tuesday at which a number of varied topics were addressed. These included the costs of and possible solutions to the theft of DVDs. 

Library Director Gretchen Bell noted that available space is always a concern in the library and that compromises were made in the past.

“I’ve met with the staff; the reason that those DVDs were split up with some behind the desk and some out on the shelving a number of years ago was because of public service and the staff complaining that it took too much time  to check them out at the circulation desk, and it was frustrating to the public,” said Bell.

Board member Ellen Kimmel added that the issue was complicated by the need to balance the costs of security with the cost of lost materials.

“There has always been a question of whether the monetary value of the loss equals the amount of money that would have to be spent to put in a security system. When we have done inventories in the past it has come out that it would cost much more to put in that kind of security system at the door than we lose,” said Kimmel. She added, “That is why the decision has always been made to not put in an elaborate  security system … where alarms go off every time somebody walks out the door.”

This raised the related issue of enforcement, and Kimmel pointed out that it is neither expected nor appropriate for library staff members to confront patrons once they’ve left the building.

 “What we hope will solve it will be to set up a system where all the DVDs will be off the shelves and will have to be requested by the patron,” said Kimmel.

Also raised at the meeting was the issue of safety. Nanuet resident Brian Booth mentioned that there are some library patrons who remain a concern as they have made other others in the library feel unsafe and uncomfortable in the past. When it was noted by the board that many of those patrons no longer visit the library,  Booth responded that there is still one patron in particular who frequents the library and has been seen staring at and following the volunteer pages.

“The library is not a haven for miscreants and people who are using the library to skulk or make other people uncomfortable,” said Booth.

While safety is certainly a fundamental concern at the library, options for action against individual patrons are limited unless there is a complaint lodged. Director Bell noted that neither she nor the board have received any. The issue is further complicated by  the library’s status as a public institution.

“Libraries, like a lot of other public buildings, walk a very fine line because we are public institutions and we do have to allow basically anyone in. And we do have policies in place that delineate what kind of behavior can get a person removed from the library, and we work on these policies with our attorney,” said board member Kimmel.

Board President Paul Corriel reiterated that safety is a primary concern for the board and that they will act accordingly.

“We will deem what  is appropriate and take the appropriate action. We will certainly do what is necessary and required to protect our staff and our patrons.”

Also addressed at the meeting were issues of library maintenance, including standing water that has collected at the bottom of the building’s elevator shaft. Although the water has receded, the remainder contains oil and will need to be pumped out by a qualified contractor at a cost of roughly $3000.

Falling revenue from overdue fines was also discussed, and it was noted that one culprit may be the increased use of eBooks. EBooks can be “” and downloaded to electronic readers such as the Kindle and Nook through the Ramapo Catskill Library System, of which Nanuet is a member. When the borrowed book’s lending period expires, the book stops working on the reader, the license is freed up for the next patron on line, and no late fees are involved.

The next meeting of the board will revisit subjects including clarifying the scope of a proposal submitted by architect Peter Gisolfi for space planning and updating necessary parts of the library.

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