Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery

Library staff are charged to safeguard the library collections as they would any valuable University asset. In particular, by carefully monitoring the building exits, and with the aid of the Tattletape exit control equipment and campus I.D. card access software, Library staff preserve library materials for present and future use and minimize disruption of study and research activities.

To provide additional security and monitoring of the exit of the Library building, campus I.D. card access has been installed at the exterior Library loading dock door. In the interest of library security, the loading dock is to be used only for Library deliveries and other business requiring loading dock use, not personal entrance and exit from the building. Staff who do not have I.D. card access to the loading dock may request access by contacting the Library Administrative Offices, on an as needed basis. Exceptions are made for staff with disabilities who request to use the loading dock entrance. Library staff should not loan their campus I.D. card to anyone, at any time, including student employees.

    Campus I.D. card access to the Library loading dock may be extended to library student employees, as required to complete business on behalf of the library. The student employee's supervisor may request access on behalf of a library student employee by contacting the Library Administrative Offices. Access will be provided on an as needed, temporary basis. The Library will not issue I.D. cards to library employees, as all students are required to have an UMBC I.D. card.
    Contractual services staff, including the ARC and Chartwell's staff, will be provided with campus I.D. card access to the Library as needed to complete their assignments. The determination of contractual services staff granted card access will be made via coordination with contractual services supervisors and the Library Administrative Offices.
    If a campus I.D. card is lost or stolen, the library or contractual services staff card holder must contact the Library Administrative Offices immediately. Also, once the campus card has been replaced, the card holder must contact the Library Administrative Offices staff so the replacement card can be activated.
  • In accordance with UMBC Campus Card guidelines, a $15.00 fee for replacement for lost, stolen or damaged cards will be charged. It is the responsibility of the card holder to pay the replacement fee. There is no charge for replacing a campus card that has become unusable due to reasonable wear.

The Tattletape exit control system installed at the main entrance is designed to detect the removal of library materials which have not been properly loaned. The system works by electromagnetic detection so that ordinarily we do not need to inspect handbags, briefcases, etc., belonging to persons exiting the building. (See, however, Appendix A (See Library Administration) for special circumstances related to possible interference with implantable electronic medical devices)

All persons exiting must go through the correct exit gate(s) with all their materials. Materials must be
carried through the center of the exit path to ensure they pass through the electromagnetic detection zone.

Materials may not be passed around the exit gate path without full inspection by the attending security staff. [The detector does not affect audio or video tapes, computer discs, or mag-stripe debit/credit card as some people may believe/allege.] Be alert to prevent persons holding books at arms length or overhead as they walk through the gates. Such behavior may represent attempts to beat the system.

EXCEPTION: If the detection system breaks down or there is a general power failure, all bags, briefcases,etc of persons exiting must be thoroughly inspected by hand. Under such emergency circumstances, post signs provided so persons entering and exiting can see them. You'll also need to announce this requirement as persons approach the exit gate. Conduct inspection as described below:

It is Library policy that staff should give the benefit of the doubt to someone who has apparently set off the Tattletape alarm. All persons must be treated equally, with the same balance of politeness and firmness.

Library staff are not police officers and cannot make a criminal arrest. Accordingly, do not physically hold, detain, restrain, or mention "arrest" of anyone. We have been advised that if someone is physically held, we must then prosecute them. This could have adverse consequences we want to avoid. Rather, staff should verbally persuade the person to cooperate and help us resolve the problem of the alarm.

  • First:*Verbally instruct the person to return to the Circulation Desk. If necessary, reinforce this message by asking the person to step back from the exit gate. Almost everyone will cooperate. [Note: If the person runs, try to see where they head and call the police immediately to apprehend the suspect. *Do not leave the area of the Library exit, however.)
  • Second: Ask the person if he or she "perhaps forgot to check out a book." Invite them to return to the Circulation desk if that is the case. If the person chooses not to return to the Circulation Desk, or denies having anything that would have set off the alarm, or acts suspiciously, or returns from the Circulation Desk and sets off the alarm again, tell them you need to inspect their bag(s) and whatever materials they are carrying.


  • Begin the inspection with any books the person carries.
  • Handbags, knapsacks, briefcases etc. must also be opened. Be respectful of persons' possessions as you inspect their bags. Do not "dump" contents of handbags, etc., but look into the bags thoroughly.
  • Coats, etc., carried should be examined or held up in some way to ascertain they aren't concealing library materials. Since books are sometimes concealed beneath coats being worn, you may have to ask the person to remove their coat and pass through the Tattletape detector without the coat while you check both the coat and any suspicious appearance of clothing underneath the coat. However, do not do a body search. If any UMBC Library materials are found suspiciously concealed, follow Library Guideline 432.
  • Allow non-UMBC books, textbooks etc. to pass.
  • Check all UMBC books and any magazines, documents, or other media.
    1. Magazines, most documents, and some books (such books are marked "do not circulate") are not loaned. Unless accompanied by a special pass signed by a responsible Library staff member authorizing a special loan, these non-circulating materials must be retained at the Security Desk for return to the collections. If these were concealed, follow Library Guideline 432.
    2. Any UMBC book that has been damaged or defaced (most commonly the barcode scraped off) must be retained. Also retain any damaged magazines, documents, pages, etc. which have set off the alarm, even if these are not apparently stamped UMBC property (the stamped page may have been torn off/out). Follow Library Guideline 432.
    3. If a UMBC book is undamaged and appears eligible for loan, you must verify that it has been properly loaned.  If a circulation terminal is available, look up each book on the system to see if it is properly loaned. Call the Circulation Desk for assistance if needed. Otherwise, pass the book(s) one by one through the detector path. Those books which do not set off the alarm can be passed and the person may proceed. If any book sets off the alarm, instruct the person to take all the books back to the circulation desk to be properly loaned and desensitized.

previously implemented policy
revised 6/28/05 re. Loading dock card swipe access; effective 7/1/05, 8/4/09
revised 1/9/92, 6/3/02 re. Loading dock; effective 7/1/02
revised 7/13/01 to reflect recorded message and appendix A