The Importance of Theft Prevention Measures in Libraries

March 30, 2020

Local libraries have seen a great deal of change in recent years as technology has forever shifted how people prefer to connect with literature and media. Libraries are more than buildings where books and archives are held, offering everything from video games to movies to community spaces and business solutions. But one constant that will never change in the library system is the threat of theft, creating the need to enact theft prevention measures.

Library Theft Prevention Tips

With libraries housing newer materials, it’s important that leadership be proactive in reviewing current theft prevention measures and coming up with new ways. Here are some key items to consider when developing or updating theft prevention steps at a library.

Inventory Control

It’s important that libraries stay on top of inventory control through constant measuring. If a library is not certain about the quantities of materials it has in its possession, determining if a theft has taken place and when will be impossible. If library materials are not identified clearly and described, library proof of ownership will be more than difficult to establish.

If it’s possible, library inventories can help determine if a collection is current and updated. If the library collection is too large for a full inventory, parts of it can be inventoried through rotating schedules. With this in mind, it’s also important to note that unique materials and archives should be checked on a regular basis.

Library Insurance

Library insurance can help libraries by protecting their materials, reputation, employees, and community. Having this kind of coverage will provide protection against a number or unique risks, including theft. Some other protections include coverage for mobile equipment, coverage for property of others in a library’s care, wage and hour coverage, donation coverage, and fine arts.

Library insurance can help libraries avoid major losses following theft or other claims. Having this type of coverage is helpful in times of dealing with stolen property.

Marks of Ownership

All library materials should be identified clearly with a mark of ownership. This will not only make materials such as books and movies easily identifiable as property of a library, but will also help to discourage theft.

These marks of ownership should be made with prominent ink stamps with non-greasy ink. Small in size, but easily recognizable, these marks should state the name and address of the library owning the material, and will serve as a proactive step in the theft prevention strategy.


Access to secure storage areas and collection areas should be carefully monitored. Everyone from volunteers to cleaning staff should always be admitted by a full-time library staff member, and unauthorized visitors should never be left alone. Allowing unattended visitors in these areas is asking for materials to be taken without caution.

Ideally, user areas should be kept distant from secure collections by a locked door that can be opened through keypad or card. Readers using any rare or unique materials in the archives should be supervised more closely at all times to make sure that any items aren’t stolen or damaged.

About Regan Agency

A family-owned business, Long Island-based Regan Agency has more than 35 years of experience serving the library insurance and risk management needs of Tri-State residents and businesses. We have earned the trust of our clients based on our integrity and commitment to offer individuals and businesses quality library insurance products at competitive prices backed by unparalleled responsive service. Just give one of our professionals a call at 631-669-3434.