Public Library Safety & Security Toolkit

Crowfoot, Wellness Desk, Adult-4

Outils et stratégies de sécurité

Des outils spécialisés et certaines compétences peuvent contribuer à améliorer la sécurité dans les bibliothèques et il est important que les responsables concernés les connaissent. Il est tout aussi important de garder à l’esprit que l’approche adoptée dans l’application des mesures de sécurité peut représenter un obstacle pour celles et ceux qui profitent au mieux des services de bibliothèque, plus particulièrement les personnes exclues, marginalisées et mal desservies de nos collectivités. Le Réseau municipal canadien en prévention de la criminalité a publié en avril 2023 un rapport qui à la fois justifiait et critiquait le renforcement des mesures de surveillance et de sécurité. Les rubriques ci-dessous mettent en lumière quelques-uns des points clés qu’ils soulèvent.

Lorsque les outils et les stratégies de sécurité s’intègrent dans l’expérience de bibliothèque

Les outils et les stratégies de sécurité sont pertinents pour se préparer aux incidents, pour les éviter et pour intervenir. 

Éléments clés

De nombreuses options sont possibles lorsqu’il est question d’outils et de stratégies de sécurité. Voici quelques points à examiner :

  • Déterminer les résultats d’ensemble qui vous incitent à réfléchir aux risques d’ordre sécuritaire
  • Élaborer un plan de travail permettant d’atteindre les objectifs fixés en matière de sûreté et de sécurité
  • Tenir compte des considérations budgétaires
  • Tenir compte des options d’équipement et des politiques qui s’y rattachent
  • Créer des procédures d’incident et des protocoles de signalement
  • Élaborer des documents clairs et concis permettant de communiquer au personnel les principales procédures de sécurité
  • Élaborer des descriptions d’emploi pour les postes internes liés à la sûreté et à la sécurité
  • Déterminer la nécessité ou non de recruter des agents de sécurité pour la bibliothèque
  • Élaborer un manuel de sécurité ou un plan d’urgence

Promoting De-Escalation Tactics

De-escalation tactics rely on purposeful actions:

  • Remain calm – A purposeful demonstration of calmness and composure can enable de-escalation.
  • Change the setting – If possible, remove people from the area. This could involve parties to the conflict and onlookers.
  • Respect personal space – Maintain a safe distance and avoid touching the other person.
  • Listen – Give your full attention, nod, ask questions, and avoid changing the subject or interrupting.
  • Empathize – Present genuine concern and willingness to understand without judging. 

Creating a Safe Work Environment

Effective de-escalation tactics can be put in place before an incident even occurs.

  • If possible, regularly roam the floor to monitor patrons for signs of frustration, distress, or potential conflict. Addressing these concerns as soon as possible helps patrons feel seen and appropriately accommodated, reducing the likelihood of them resorting to inappropriate behaviour.
  • Keep space around service points as clear as possible. This reduces the possibility that a patron can use loose objects as weapons or damage library equipment.

Engaging Patrons

If a patron is already in an aggravated state, it is still possible to de-escalate the situation and reduce the likelihood of further conflict.

  • Before engaging with them, take a moment to assess the situation, your own emotional state, and the potential need for further support from other staff, security, or emergency services. If necessary, take a moment to calm yourself before speaking to the patron.
  • Be mindful of your body language and tone of voice. Stand a respectful distance (approx. 1-2 metres) away with a relaxed posture and loose, visible hands. Maintain an appropriate level of eye contact and a neutral facial expression as you speak to the patron and listen to their concerns. Try to set the tone and volume that you want the patron to adopt in the conversation (quiet, calm, rational).
  • Remain aware of the patron’s body language. If you notice any signs of potential aggression, prioritize your personal safety by giving them space and planning an escape route if needed.
  • Enter a scenario with the intention of gathering information unless it is an emergency. Listen attentively and acknowledge the patron’s feelings. Patrons who are upset often want to have their experiences heard and validated. Ask clarifying questions that require them to recall the sequence of events leading to the problem – this offers them an opportunity to explain themselves with less chance of further escalation. It is okay to agree with them or apologize to them if they have been treated unjustly, but refrain from offering your own opinions on the incident.

Opportunities in Library Branches Co-located with Other Facilities

Library branches co-located within or next to other facilities may have additional opportunities for collaboration on safety and security. Possible areas include:

  • Information Sharing Agreements – Libraries may develop information sharing agreements to share information between neighbours/other tenants about customers suspended by either party. Such agreements must take the library’s privacy policy into account. Regular meetings to share observations and trends between collocated partners is a common strategy.
  • Shared Security Infrastructure – In a shared building, security cameras, access and alarm systems may be shared without each entity separately administering their own. This may include cost-sharing agreements.
  • Security Personnel – In many cases, co-located services facilities offer opportunities to share security personnel. Libraries must weigh whether shared security personnel understand the unique values and mission of the library when considering such opportunities.

Assessing Risk - Examples

Different libraries use different structures to assess risk. The examples below were provided by different libraries, however important elements of the overall approach and concept are very consistent.

Edmonton Public Library

Edmonton Public Library uses a Hazard Assessment and Control tracking resource that assesses the severity of different hazard and the likelihood of different hazards associated with different tasks and activities in the library to determine a level of risk. They use that same resource to identify how the hazards will be eliminated or controlled. The graphic is an example of the risk of potential violence being experienced when performing customer service tasks along with legends explaining the notes in the table.

Edmonton Public Library's risk assessment

Hamilton Public Library