The University Library has seen a rise in lost property in the library. It isn’t clear exactly how much is stolen. The library felt it was time for action.
“Recently, more students than usual have been reporting that they have lost their laptop or wallet,” says library staff member Ineke van der Kramer. “We don’t want to reward the thieves by not doing anything, so we’re starting an awareness campaign.”
When there are two or more reports of lost property on the same day, the library staff are alarmed. That was the case on Friday 17 November, for example. “We feel that two reports on one day is a lot, particularly when you bear in mind that not everyone will report something missing,” Van der Kramer explains.
Flyers and posters
Last Tuesday, the University Library launched a campaign against theft. Posters are distributed all over the library. If students leave their valuable possessions unattended at their workplace, staff leave flyers there saying: “Watch your stuff! Be aware of thieves! Please don’t leave your belongings unattended.”
At the moment, the University Library doesn’t see any reason to take additional security measures. “It’s initially the student’s responsibility. Furthermore, there are already two uniformed stewards patrolling the library, and from 5.00 p.m. there’s a security guard in the building too. If the problem persists, we can always consider taking additional security measures,” says Kathalijne Smout, communication officer at the library.
Why do so many students leave their belongings unattended? “Students seem to feel at home in the new University Library,” says Van der Kramer. “Which is great.” But not practical unfortunately, Smout adds.
Anyone can steal
In principle, anyone could steal unattended belongings in the libray. It isn’t just open to students, says Smout. “Erasmus University is a public place which is also accessible to people with bad intentions.”
The awareness campaign will probably be permanent, says Smout. It isn’t too time consuming for staff and if it prevents theft, that’s a great outcome. “We regularly walk around the library anyway and see things left unattended. We might as well leave warning notes on unattended belongings.”