Bringing library thieves to book

27th February 1998 at 00:00
3M FULL CIRCULATING LIBRARY SECURITY SYSTEMS. Prices from around pound;4,100 exc VAT, inc installation

Three years ago, police recovered 52,000 stolen library books from the house of a Suffolk turkey farm worker. He had amassed the collection over 30 years from a range of museums, universities and public libraries.

His first target, at the age of 19, was a school library. If that school had adequate security measures in place at the time, perhaps his larcenous tendencies would have been nipped in the bud.

Stock theft is a growing problem for schools, particularly as these days the library area may have expensive and tempting items, including audio-visual material, CD-Roms and computer software.

3M has developed a security package which it guarantees will reduce book losses in the first year of installation by at least 80 per cent. It will use discreet markers called "Tattle-Tape triggers", which are placed inside each book or on audio-visual material, and are activated when the item is removed from the shelf. The marker is difficult to detect so that it can't be deliberately torn off.

If a marked item is taken out of the library without going through the proper loans procudure, an alarm is set off. In normal procedure, the marker is de-activated at the librarian's desk and will be re-sensitived on its return.

3M provides free advice for schools and can undertake a feasibility study on the best package to suit individual libraries. Apparently, most sites are capable of supporting the necessary equipment: the alarm is activated by pupils passing through a corridor area of two panels situated by the door.

The sensitising equipment can be locked away at the end of the day or when there is no librarian. 3M claims that its system is within the budgets of most schools and that with the high levels of savings made from cutting loss of stock, it could pay for itself in three years.

* 3M UK plc, Easthampstead Road, Bracknell, Berkshire RG12 1JE

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now