Library Council
University of Toronto Central Library System

Committee on Personal Safety and Security Annual Report 1999 February 14, 2000

The Committee on Personal Safety and Security was formed as a result of a recommendation of the Task Force on Personal Safety and Security and first met on September 9, 1998. The Task Force recommended that the Committee be comprised of seven members, 1 Management and 1 Union representative from the Gerstein Science Information Centre, Robarts Library, and Other libraries in the central Library system. The members are Peter Gurney, Helen Michael, Teresa Guardia, Kamlesh Sharma, Gabriela Bravo and Carol Schiavetto, with Bill Godoy as ex officio member. In June 1999, John Workman became an additional member from Bill Godoy's office. The original distribution of management and union has changed somewhat due to the Staff Association becoming part of the Steelworkers Union. In the event that new members are added, this distribution will no longer be followed as rigidly.

GOALS OF THE COMMITTEE:

to set up the Library Watch program in the central libraries
to develop and implement Safety Audit procedures
to implement and/or re-examine the June '98 recommendations of the Task Force on Personal Safety and Security
to receive and act on personal safety and security concerns of staff
to distribute safety and security information to all staff

IMPORTANT ISSUES DEALT WITH (since last annual report: April 21, 1999):

the liaison with Len Paris, the U.ofT. Health and Safety Officer, to conduct Safety Audits jointly with his office and thereby including more campus groups in the process, was temporarily suspended due to Len Paris leaving his position to take a job elsewhere. Since a successor was not immediately named, we carried on with the previous Safety Audit Schedule.

as a result of feedback from the Rare Books Library Safety Audit, we have further refined the procedure we would like to follow for all the Safety Audits. We notify the department heads in advance that we will be coming to the Library to conduct the audit. It is the responsibility of the Department heads to notify their staff. The audit will include random interviews with staff and patrons. The final report is reviewed by the Committee and approved. Once approved, we submit the report to Bill Godoy's office and to the department head(s) for distribution to staff. Feedback from the report, either objections or suggestions, should be written and will be appended to the report in Bill Godoy's office.

conducted a Safety Audit of Robarts Library in December 1999. This required the committee's dividing Robarts into 4 sections and splitting up into teams to fill out the Safety Audit Questionnaire and conduct interviews for each section. The report will be distributed to department heads in early March. There are now 5 libraries left to be audited: Gerstein, Math, Pharmacy, Earth Sciences and the East Asian. We expect to have these safety audits completed by May, 2000.

received and assessed the booklet, "Guide to Crisis Response and Management". This booklet deals with many of the issues that concern our committee. We would like to recommend to the Library Council its distribution to every department in the Central Library System. (For more information about or more copies of the Guide, please contact Lee McKergow, Manager, Police Services at 978-7472.)

would like to recommend to Janice Oliver, Assistant Vice-President of Operations & Services, that the following language be included in the Guide concerning the aftermath of trauma:

"In the event of an attack on a staff member, either verbal or physical, that staff member may feel some emotional trauma. It is possible this trauma could last for some time and affect the employee's ability to function in the workplace. The employee should be given the option of contacting the University's Health and Safety Officer, for help in dealing with the aftermath. In addition, the employee's supervisor should consider the following: The supervisor should, in consultation with the employee, consider ways in which the employee might be given altered duties in order to accommodate any emotional trauma. Since the employee may have difficulty entering certain areas, working alone, working at certain times of the day, etc., the work schedule should be changed temporarily if necessary. The supervisor should recognize that the emotional trauma could continue for some time, depending on the employee and the intensity of the experience. The supervisor should consider conferring with the U.of T. Health and Safety Office about such a situation."

reviewed the existing Emergency Procedures "Binder", which we agreed was out of date and should be discarded. Reviewed the Emergency Procedures Handbook 1994, the yellow booklet distributed by Bill Godoy's Office. We made recommendations that it be updated to include the newest information about OISE Library and approved it for publication. A new version will be available shortly.

established exact procedures to follow concerning theft in the libraries

established a schedule for monthly Emergency Equipment Testing. Robarts, Gerstein and OISE have all had their emergency phone systems tested. Emergency Equipment should also be tested during a Safety Audit of a library, if applicable.

established a reasonable "expiration" date of postings with descriptions of suspicious persons.

reviewed the terms of office for the members of the Personal Safety and Security Committee. The present membership will remain until November 2000, at which point, half of the members will have the option of leaving the Committee and we will find replacements

as a result of having a guest speaker come to one of our meetings with some of his concerns involving the recent assault at the Gerstein Library and an issue of electronic hate-mail being received by a staff member at Robarts Library, we re-evaluated and defined the procedures surrounding the reporting of incidents and the submission of Incident Report Forms. We presented a reminder to LC about the need for supervisors to ensure Incident Reports are filled out for any reported incidents by a staff member or patron, even if that person should wish to remain anonymous or doesn't want to make a great issue out of it. This is the only way to establish a pattern of documentation for persons who may become "repeat offenders". The Incident Reports should then be sent to Bill Godoy's office.

PLANS/FOCUS FOR THE COMING YEAR:

to re-establish a liaison with the U.of T. Health and Safety Office with the idea of broadening the involvement in Safety Audits

to create, by June, a fixed schedule for the performance of Safety Audits in all the libraries of the Central Library System

to re-examine the Safety Audit Questionnaire

full implementation of the Library Watch Program

examination of the procedures for handling cash at the public service points

continuing to respond to the safety and security concerns of the library community; to this end, we would like to repeat our invitation to anyone who would like to attend our meetings and bring us any of their concerns involving personal safety and security.

further dissemination of safety and security information to the various libraries; especially in promotion of the "Guide to Crisis Response and Management" as a necessary document for all staff.

to make an announcement in the Staff Development Update that the Committee for Personal Safety and Security meets regularly on the 1st Tuesday of each month at 3-5pm. We welcome any person who has concerns or questions to attend the monthly meeting. If interested, please contact one of the committee members to let them know when you would like to attend.

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