The Library Security, or lack thereof, at the University of Malta has actually superseded parking as a conversation topic. But do we have the right to talk about purses and money being stolen, if we are warned with signs all over entrance floor of the premises warning us not to leave our valuable belongings unattended?
This to me raises a list of questions which are left unanswered, and I am genuinely hoping that someone will approach me to clarify the situation.
Firstly, if we are to empty our belongings into a ‘University of Malta’ bag in order to be allowed to go in, then why can’t we simply take our bags upstairs with us? Many would argue that this filtering process aims to reduce (note that I specifically didn’t say eliminate) theft of library books. I hate to be the one to utter this in black and white, but since the bags and books aren’t checked, books are being taken out without being registered.
This might not be difficult to believe since the people employed to sit at the last desk on the way out of the library are more concerned with their Facebook newsfeed then what is going in and out. So why not allow us to take our own bags upstairs? What is the point of having a display of empty bags on shelves?
Some of us have more than just a laptop and a charger to take upstairs with us. Plus, we can’t leave our valuables, so purses, keys, and chargers have to be strategically mounted onto our writing pads and balanced professionally all the way to a vacant table - Because let’s face it, there aren’t even enough of those either.
Secondly, if the spaces available to leave our belongings behind aren’t safe and therefore useless, why not just change them into lockers? I mean since we cannot trust any of our stuff there anyway might as well replace them with the lockers in student house. Watching first years learn about this situation the hard way is difficult to witness. At the end of the day, even though I find myself to be a decade older than the majority of you, I know very well what living on a stipend means.
Having your belongings stolen while you were trying to get some work done for a few hours is the last thing you want to explain to your parents while all they seem to be concerned with is the answer to the infamous question: Why did you leave your stuff unattended?
The latest approach to the issue was to raise security within the building, which basically means a security guard sitting at the entrance of the library on a chair (or outside smoking a cigarette). How does a person, hired to sit and ‘watch the situation’, know which bag actually belongs to me? How is this individual to know that I have picked up a handbag which doesn’t belong to me? Can I not easily rifle through a bag, look for my purse, walk out with it, take money out and throw it into the next bin I see? And what’s worse is that when you do have anything stolen from you, you aren’t even allowed to obtain the CCTV camera footage, even if you file a report with the police station.
So, essentially, if anyone takes anything from your bag, you are free to say that it was stolen, but nothing will really be done to help you retrieve it. If you ever stole anything from anyone at the library, don’t worry, your secret is safe.