Keeping it safe, keeping it available: theft prevention in special collections
Recent thefts of early cartographic material from several major special collections in the USA and abroad have refocused attention on the age-old problem of security and theft prevention in libraries. These thefts have highlighted a perceived lack of responsiveness of the legal system to these cultural crimes. Numerous commentators have recommended a host of preventive measures: security cameras, decreased accessibility to valuable items, visible and invisible markings of maps and prints, increased screening of potential researchers, weighing items at check-out and check-in, and more. Actual responses by major institutions have been mixed, with some enhancing visible security, and others responding with negligible change. Some of the suggested measures may not be implemented due to budgetary constraint, or due to fears of further marginalizing collection use (i.e., limiting access).
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