A Day in the Life of a Library Security Guard


    By Whitney Alexander

    The locker resonates as it slams shut. His white shirt, khaki pants, dress shoes and tie hang stiffly on his body, and he dons a blue blazer with shoulder pads for the finishing touch. Time stops as he clocks in.

    This is how a typical shift starts for a library security guard. Joel Hilton, a senior from Layton, majoring in English, has participated in this routine since he was a freshman at BYU.

    To add to his security persona, he straps on a flashlight and pepper spray.

    In order to legally carry pepper spray, a security guard must attend pepper spray training in which they must be sprayed with it themselves. This helps them become more wary about being too quick to push the red button.

    Because of this training, Hilton often receives flashbacks of the pain he endured while being sprayed a few years prior.

    “It really is a miserable experience,” Hilton said. ” It”s like having your eyes on fire and you can”t put it out.”

    Hilton walks to the control room, anticipating which station he is starting off for the day: either the east or west desk, control room or “rove route.”

    During rove route, one of his favorite assignments of the day, a security guard can roam wherever he wants in the library to make sure all is secure and peaceful.

    Hilton enters his first station, at the west desk. He scans the computer screen and cameras to verify current safety.

    After a few minutes of people watching, a loud Baam! comes from a few feet away. A student”s face is glowing red because he just ran into the plastic library sensor machines while checking out a pretty girl. Hilton writes down the time it happened so they can go back later and watch the tape for a good laugh.

    He chuckles to himself and remembers other similar situations that make his day amusing, such as students tripping up the stairs or falling on their face.

    A student walks over and hands Hilton a book. He stamps the book robotically, without thinking too much about it.

    He sits back and once again begins to people watch. And then, it happens: his biggest pet peeve. A couple walks in holding hands, and instead of letting go of each others” grasp while walking through the plastic sensor machines, they raise their clasping hands over.

    “It”s like, ”Can you not let go for one second?” ” Hilton said. “Your love will continue if you”re not touching.”

    Another annoyance of the security guards is students” lack of concern for the no food and drinking policy.

    A student enters with a hand full of books in one hand and a Jamba in the other. Jamba Juice is their nemesis because so many students try to sneak their fruit drinks into the library.

    Hilton repeats the same phrase multiple times daily, “Excuse me, ma”am, you know you are not allowed to bring that into the library.”

    After Hilton reprimands the student he sees a couple of friends who say “hi.” Not only does he constantly see people he knows, but he also finds dates for the weekend.

    “Girls love us,” Hilton said. “You meet girls at the desk and they come up and talk to you and you ask them out. I try not to ask girls out in uniform though because I think it intimidates them.”

    It”s time to change to rove route. During his roam, he finds students having make-out sessions or parties in the study rooms. Sometimes students will have a full out food party with chips, salsa, drinks and candy. It can be quite an exciting experience.

    Soon it is time to go home. Obnoxious music fills the air to drive students out. Hilton has a hard time understanding why people would want to stay at the library so late.

    “People don”t want to leave,” Hilton said. “I don”t know why they want to stay at the library. Leave. Go home and eat or something.”

    As Hilton walks back to the locker room to change, he contemplates the day and compares the excitement to days past. Although there were no fire alarms, medical assists or sting operations, he still had a good time. More importantly, he feels he has accomplished his task.

    “We”re really here as a preventive tactic,” Hilton said. “If we”re walking around and people notice us we”re hoping they will be less likely to steal a backpack or make out in a study room.”

    With the end of that thought, he opens his locker, changes and clocks out, making time stop once again.

    Top 10 Stupid Questions Students Ask Library Security Guards:

    1. So, where are all the books?

    2. Are you open?

    3. Is this the library?

    4. What are you doing on Friday…Oh, you”re married?

    5. Am I allowed to come in here?

    6. Is the cafeteria downstairs?

    7. Where is the yearbook?

    8. Do I need to pass my keys and cell phone around these machines?

    9. Do you work here?

    10. Can I ask you a stupid question?

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