26 Mar Stories from Security
“Library Security always masterfully responds to complex and overlapping demands, but last week saw a new peak in excellence and agile critical thinking under pressure.”
– Ian Godfrey, Director of Library Facilities
At the University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library, the Security Team is always prepared for emergency response – but two major emergencies in one week pushed their planning and abilities to the maximum test. The library began operations Monday the 16th with a small crew of onsite employees led by the Security Team. While others worked from home to keep our online services humming, Security was setting up social distancing barriers for all the service desks so that patrons could continue to check out technology and other library materials to prepare for the semester’s transition to online learning.
Wednesday, the 5.7 Magna earthquake struck the valley just before opening and presented another challenge. Security prepared the building to act as a shelter-in-place for the University of Utah community displaced from other buildings that were closed pending structural inspections or for those that had lost power and utilities. Students expressed their collective anxiety over COVID-19 and the earthquake. While also maintaining research assistance, checkouts and providing general information while the status of University operations was in flux, Security brought food and water to the students. The team moved large format scanners to the lower level of the library and migrated all of the laptops and other technology down to the entrance so that students had a one-stop-shop opportunity that kept everyone off of the upper levels of the building while the valley waited out the many aftershocks.
Now providing online assistance to students from home, the Security Team is already looking back on last week’s double-emergency to further develop the library’s emergency response plan. As we learned this week, having a plan and preparing your staff with exercises can help you get through events one day at a time.