Police Respond to DVD Thefts At Mashpee Library

Mashpee Public Library is working with police and the Department of Public Works to address a recent series of DVD thefts.

At a recent trustees meeting, library director Kathleen M. Mahoney said DPW director Catherine E. Laurent visited the library to plan the installation of video cameras.

“The reality is, is that going to stop anybody [from stealing]?” Ms. Mahoney said, adding that the library staff is working with police on the issue.

Ms. Laurent suggested the library consider installing security gates at the library entrance. Triggered by radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags attached to library items, the gates set off an alarm when they recognize an item passing through them that has not been checked out.

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However, the gates may not be an effective solution to the thefts of DVD series—which do not include RFID tags for individual discs—as Ms. Mahoney mentioned at a previous meeting that some thieves had removed discs from their cases, leaving those cases empty on the shelves.

When books go missing, she said, they are often items that patrons are embarrassed to check out, such as sex education books from the young adult section. Test prep books, too, are taken from the shelves, possibly by students who wish to write in them.

Otherwise, thefts have not been a significant problem, and the issue of missing DVDs has surfaced only recently.

Ms. Mahoney said that Mashpee Police Chief Rodney C. Collins will be speaking to library staff about safety, and she expects a recommendation on how to respond to security issues from the police department soon.

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Although the recently expanded town building use policy and fees does not apply to the library, the trustees may be following suit.

The policy, which was originally established for the schools and now includes the Mashpee Senior Center and town hall, requires applicants of after-hours public building use to pay a room fee and a town monitor. The policy does not include the library because it is governed by the board of library trustees.

In the town’s policy, higher rates are set for for-profit groups than nonprofit groups.

For-profit groups have never been allowed to meet in the library, Ms. Mahoney said, but she was considering the possibility of supporting the business community in the near future. Perhaps there was a way to allow businesses into the library for various types of training or other informational purposes, without making sales pitches.

But the library is still working on building its own programming, she said, and even requests by some nonprofit groups to meet there on a weekly basis cannot be satisfied.

“We don’t have that kind of ability,” Ms. Mahoney said.

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