The Mashpee Public Library’s collection of DVDs is disappearing from the shelves, but many of them are not being checked out. They’re being stolen.
“They’re actually taking the DVDs out of their cases and putting the case back,” library director Kathleen M. Mahoney said at a library board of trustees meeting on Tuesday, June 10.
The DVDs being stolen are mainly popular TV series, she said. Specifically, staff noted a stack of five seasons of “True Blood,” about eight or nine discs, missing in only a couple of days.
But the library is watching, Ms. Mahoney added, and has notified the Mashpee police. Trustees came to the consensus that the director should pursue all security options, and minimally, have a sign installed that indicates the area is monitored.
Although Ms. Mahoney felt that a sign will appear somewhat unwelcoming, she and the board agreed that it was necessary.
“That’s the world we live in, unfortunately,” trustee Chip Bishop said.
The director said that thieves may be taking DVDs into the bathroom and then concealing them before they leave the building, which might be beyond the range of the cameras in place.
To respond to the issue, library staff is considering installing additional cameras, monitoring videos more frequently, and possibly relocating DVDs behind the circulation desk.
The board also reevaluated the library’s meeting room policy, due to feedback that various town groups would like to use the meeting rooms outside of the library’s regular hours.
The Mashpee Democratic Town Committee, which already meets regularly in the meeting rooms during library hours, also requested that the policy be adjusted to allow political activity in the building.
Patricia A. Gamache, who was reelected as chairman earlier in the meeting, said that they could consider the option of utilizing town monitors for after-hours use of the library. The monitors have recently become available to monitor public buildings, she said, but the library would have to pay for them.
“Now that that avenue opened up, I agree with Pat that it makes sense to use the monitors and make people happy,” trustee John L. Kowalski said.
The group voted unanimously that if they decide to proceed with after-hour library use—depending on monitor costs—they will charge a fee for after-hours users to cover custodial and monitor costs.
Questions were also raised about the definition of political activity.
While Mr. Bishop said that he saw no issue with allowing civic groups to use meeting rooms for informational purposes, other trustees questioned whether there was any way to prevent groups from conducting “political activity” that is prohibited in the library, such as rallies and campaigning.
Ms. Gamache said that it might be easier to no longer allow any political groups to meet in the building, but the trustees came to no conclusion on the matter. They decided to discuss the situation with the town counsel before making any decisions.