Woman steals Ark. library's fine money

A Fort Smith Arkansas library branch was robbed of its fine money Thursday by a woman who implied she had a weapon, police said. "We're kind of dumbfounded," Fort Smith police Officer Vincent Clamser said. The robber, a tall, light-skinned woman who covered her face and head with bandanas, walked into the library's Windsor branch and handed the librarian a note, Clamser said.


This kind of situation concerned me for a long time. Larger libraries taking in a few hundred in fines or more every day are really ripe targets for any thief looking for an easy score. I mean, we don't have as much on-hand cash as a bank but some larger branches might have as much as a convenience store. But the whole amount of money isn't as attractive as the other features marking a library as an easy robbery.We're certainly not armed, or at least 99% of us aren't. And even if we were, would we be stupid enough to initiate a gunfight for a few hundred dollars? And I apologize to the ladies of our profession, but thieves know that libraries are primarily staffed with women, who just don't seem to be as likely to start something when someone waives a weapon around. There's no panic button, no dollar bill trap, and how many of us really have a written, practiced, and standard protocol for what to do in the event of a hold up?The libraries I've worked for had emergency plans for fires, bomb threats, and stuff like that. But nothing in the realm of armed robbery.In other words, there's a pretty good chance we won't know how to respond afterwards and that might give them extra time to make a clean break.Got cameras over your desk? Above the door? The last two libraries I worked for didn't. The one I work for now does have cameras covering the lobby. However they're black and white, no audio, hardwired, poor signal to noise, and picture is just good enough to let you know that's a humanoid walking through the door and not, say, a slime monster.Don't get me wrong. I'm am 100% pro patron privacy and 100% against the camera world police state cities like London are adopting. But at the front desk, everyone can see you. The guy behind you knows what you're checking out because he's right there with you. He can see that you have copies of The Da Vinci Code, How to Get More Out of Sex, and Gonorrhea and Syphilis. When you're checking stuff out, you have far less privacy than you have when browsing the stacks, Everyone sees you and they can tell what you have without much effort. So a camera above the desk (and not the self checks) isn't really an invasive thing.Besides, there's no money in the stacks, at least nothing liquid.

I often carried a gun in the library, of course I did so legally.

If you attempted to commit an armed robbery in the library and I was there with my gun I can assure you I would, herd the employees and patrons to safety, get my arse out of harm's way and call the cops.

The chances of me having to shoot an armed robber are probably pretty small, however that would change after the robber's first shot or taking of a hostage. However I am not now a cop and frankly I'd rather work the fry machine than do that again. (Free fries both jobs though) I'm not chasing some armed nut through the parking lot trading shots with him because he robbed the library. However he should be easy to catch, he will be the guy with the thirty four bucks in dimes.

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