On March 16, the Wallace Library put into effect a new card reading system that members of the Wheaton community can use to enter the building during evening and weekend hours. This proximity card reader for the Wheaton ID card is located to the right of the inner doors at the main entrance. The system was tested during spring break, but there are still kinks that need to be worked out.
The Library Director of Research and Instruction, who also oversees Public Services, Scott Hamlin, stated that there were no specific incidents that led to this decision but rather a general feeling that the facilities needed to be more secure than they are currently.
Hamlin said, “Events in the world and incidents on other campuses made us think about how we would want to make our library safer as this is one of the most popular places for students to study. We want to make sure that the students feel safe when they are here.”
This card reader will be in effect from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Monday through Thursday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, and 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Sunday. This is when visitors are not allowed in the building and all other entrances besides the front door will be locked. Hamlin said, “During the day, the doors will be unlocked and wide open for anyone in the campus community to use, including hours when the library is open to visitors.”
Though this system was supposed to go into effect last week, Hamlin stated that it still had some glitches. He said, “We are resolving those and hopefully it will be fully implemental by the weekend. The company we work with is trying to figure out the issue. From their point of view the schedule is correct, I think that they’re determining that not all students are in the system.”
In terms of response from the community, Head of Circulation, Mary Savolainen, stated that this new system affected the opening and closing times of the two other library entrances. On the issues with the new system, she said, “I don’t know what is causing the card swipe system not to work correctly. We are working with Integrated Systems and Public Safety to resolve the issue.”
Students had somewhat apathetic feelings toward this new system. Ciara Sidell ’15 said, “I never felt unsafe in the library and this doesn’t really change my feelings.” Two student employees of the library said they had not yet used the card system and did not see the need for it. One of them expressed concern for the jobs of the people who do security at night or on the weekends.
In response to this, Hamlin said, “We won’t make any changes to the Safety and Security student employees this semester, especially since the system is so new. With the card access lock in place, we may make some adjustments next year, but we haven’t had the system in place long enough yet to determine if we would do that or what the adjustments might be. Having said that, I do think we’re going to continue to need Safety and Security student employees in the Library next year, because they do more than monitoring the front door.”