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Mugar to implement additional security measures soon

A student studies in Boston University’s Mugar Memorial Library. The library will start requiring students and faculty to show their IDs in the Fall semester to ensure they are affiliated with the university. SOPHIE PARK/ DFP FILE

In an effort to increase library security, Boston University Libraries is planning to implement enhanced measures to control building access and ensure patrons are either students or have business with the university. While the official date for when these changes will be made has not yet been announced, library officials say it will be in place by the Fall semester this year. 

The changes, which are set to roll out later this year, will require faculty, staff and students to use their Terrier Card to enter the library. Tom Casserly, the associate university librarian for undergraduate and distance learning, wrote in an email that the facility entrance will soon require students to present a BU ID upon entering the library.

Casserly also said that if non-university patrons would like to use the libraries, they must present a government-issued ID to do so. Systems of ID presentation are in place at many other university libraries on urban campuses, such as the libraries of George Washington University and Harvard University. 

The details of how Terrier Cards must be presented, whether it be a swipe-in style, tap-in style, or other means, have not yet been announced.

There has been longstanding concern over the theft of unattended student materials, laptops and other valuables in the library by petty thieves. Colin Riley, a spokesperson for BU, said that the added security measures aim to mediate those problems. 

“Mugar security [is] ensuring that the individuals coming into the libraries are students or have business,” Riley said. “There are a lot of people around the city of Boston who find their way into public places, including libraries, and who take advantage of unattended property, either picking it up or also actively looking to take valuable property including laptops, ID’s, credit cards, wallets, et cetera. We hope this is going to decrease that.”

Casserly wrote in an email that he and other administrators hope the changes will improve the overall library environment. 

“Boston University Libraries are taking a proactive view to the use of the libraries, including Mugar Library, the busiest, most used facility on the Charles River campus,” Casserly wrote, “in providing a comfortable and safe environment for the Boston University community to undertake research and to study.”

Abby Gross, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences, said she’s not sure adding an ID swiping process will help the library’s staff prevent stealing.

“Swiping isn’t going to stop people from stealing stuff,” Gross said. “If they really want to steal books, they’ll steal the books.”

Shaina Evans, a sophomore in CAS, said she can see how adding security measures could have a negative impact and hopes the positives outweigh the negatives.

“I just hope [added security] doesn’t deter people from coming,” Evans said. “I know that not only BU students use Mugar, so I hope it doesn’t affect the larger community.”

Monica Coloma, a senior in CAS, said she feels these changes are coming too late in comparison to the steps other universities have taken.

“It’s kind of been a thing for a while, and they know that a bunch of other universities have done this already,” Caloma said. “I felt like it was kind of like [BU is] not leading the game with this.”

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