Carroll libraries push for systems to curb theft

January 23, 2004|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

When an inventory at Carroll County's busiest library last year showed more than $23,000 in missing items, the director of the five-branch system ordered theft-deterrent equipment.

In the past six months, the equipment has worked so well at the Westminster branch that she would like to install similar devices throughout the system.

"We had 1,500 items gone missing, and that was just at Westminster," said Linda Mielke, the county's library director. "I knew we had a serious problem." The stolen items included books, CDs, DVDs, videotapes and other materials, she said. At her urging, the county installed a $27,000 theft-deterrent system in Westminster six months ago. Metallic strips attached to library material must be removed at the checkout desk, or they will trip an alarm as patrons exit.

The system has been so successful in cutting down on thefts that Mielke would like to use it at the Mount Airy, Taneytown, Eldersburg and North Carroll branches.

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