Fresno State’s Henry Madden Library welcomed more than 170,000 visitors during March 2019, according to the university’s website, making it a very popular building on campus.
Like other public libraries that experience a high volume of traffic, a security guard and/or a full-time police officer are located at the main entrance of the building.
The public safety assistance (PSA) at the library was established to offer a similar resource to other public libraries by presenting a visible security guard.
The podium that is placed at the entrance of the library is a security desk for visibility to the public. The security guards are connected to Fresno State’s police department to report any safety issue at the library.
“This podium is meant to encourage students to approach them [with] security concerns whether it be a theft or suspicious activity or feeling uncomfortable,” said Arantes Armendariz, supervisor of the PSA.
The scheduled times for a security personnel member to be visible to the public are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. When not visible, they are still available to assist the safety needs of the public.
The idea for a security podium at the library entrance was proposed last semester, but it was not established until the spring semester.
This semester, PSA had a test run a couple of months ago and has continued to bring out the podium during busy days due to frequently asked questions.
“A popular question that is frequently asked by people is actually, ‘Where is Starbucks?,’” Armendariz said. “Other questions may also be book location, a room location, etc.”
The security station’s establishment was not a result of any recent crimes. It was intended to provide more visibility and a greater opportunity for library visitors to engage more with security personnel, according to Armendariz.
It was also due to the fact that the PSA personnel are there for any help that visitors may need getting around in the library.
“[The PSA] are in constant communication with the police department,” Armendariz said. “They are … on the police radio at all times listening to hear the calls that go on throughout campus. That is how they have quick communication [with the police department]. Their duties are the ones that you’d expect for security. They monitor, patrol, [and are] aware of all areas in the library.”