Re: video security

Ralph Huntzinger (
Thu, 3 Apr 1997 13:39:26 +0000

"To strip or not to strip, that is a resources question"
Years ago when we were building the foundations for our philosophy
we looked at "allied industries" (record stores, video stores, etc.)
to see what and how they handled this issue. 1) They design pass
around "circulation desks" so they never zap their security strips
but walk them behind the gates and hand them to their customers, 2)
they occupy large amounts of valuable space storing the tapes behind
the desk and display the cases, 3) they only sell and never have
something come back so they remove the strip at point of sale,
and/or 4) they set a "breakage" figure which says how much they are
willing to lose to theft and damage.
KCLS basically, decided to follow #4 after looking at the
amount of staff time it took to police an "unpolicable" activity in
our kind of public library. That's what Tony @ Kitsap Regional
was saying. The difficult point is to decide how much you can lose
before administration takes action to establish some kind of
"tight security" system. The hassle to circulation staff to stem
a 3%-5% loss is very expensive to that valuable and scare resource
(staff). KCLS will accept something like 5%-8%. We partly look
at it as wear and tear and/or weeding the collection.
In special cases, we do move some tapes to a more
secure location when there appears to be a rash of losses. Last
night I worked in one of our branches where we "misplaced - lost" 10
or 12 of the most recent tapes out of their cases. That branch is looking
at ways to reduce that temporary problem while also not taking too much
staff time.
We view it as a trade-off with staff time the deciding factor.

Ralph Huntzinger (206) 684-6673
Collection Management Services
King County Library System
Seattle, Wa