The Library: A Safer Place

More and more public libraries across the country are adding library staff who do something other than help people find books. We felt it was time to do the same. We want to be better prepared to keep you and our staff safe and help our community.

Meet Daniel Boone Regional Library’s first safety and security manager, Drew Ide and our first community resource manager, Tyler Davis.

What did you expect when you took this position to work at the library?
photo of Drew Ide
Drew Ide

Drew: I had very few encounters with libraries in my previous employment and assumed that the library was a very relaxed place where patrons would come to find new books. After six months of being in this position, I now know that the library is WAAAAY more than just books! The many events, programs and services the library provides require a tremendous amount of time spent preparing and planning for safety and security needs.

Tyler: I completed a practicum placement at the library as part of my master of social work studies. During that time, I learned about the history of social work professionals working in public libraries. This trend started in 2008 when the San Francisco Public Library recognized the immense social needs of its patrons. Rather quickly, this trend spread to other public library systems including the Kansas City Public Library and the St. Louis County Library. Hiring a community resource manager demonstrates DBRL’s strategic commitment to delivering community-centered services, a move that puts us ahead of the curve for public library systems of our size.

What role do you play at the library?
photo of Tyler Davis
Tyler Davis

Drew: Depending on the day and situation at hand, I can wear a variety of “hats.” My main role is to establish and maintain a safe and secure environment for both staff and patrons. I am the main liaison between the library and local law enforcement. I supervise our contracted security officers; provide policy updates and recommendations; oversee staff safety drills and training. The list of duties continues to grow the longer I’m here, but the staff seem to really appreciate having someone designated to be watching their backs and making sure they are safe while at work!

Tyler: Some of our patrons need help with finding community resources and information to meet their basic needs and overcome life challenges. I work directly with individuals and families to provide them information, help them complete applications, or talk through challenges they’re experiencing. I train staff on topics such as how to serve diverse populations and what community resources are available. I also work with community partners to strengthen relationships and the best ways to meet the needs of our community.

How do your two positions work together?

Drew: On Tyler’s very first day at the library, we were called to help a patron who was creating a dangerous situation for himself and others inside the library. Tyler visited with him and was able to connect him to resources in the community that were very much needed. I am happy to report that, nearly three months later, this patron is able to successfully visit the library regularly and is back on the right track! My job is to keep everyone safe and deal with dangerous situations when they are encountered. Tyler is often the other half of this equation, and I am very excited to see what else we can achieve now that we are both working for the library!

Tyler: Working together, Drew and I have had many successful interventions with patrons who have potentially violated the library’s code of conduct. Most of the time, we are able to resolve concerns before they escalate, and we are able to connect people with resources to help them overcome life challenges. Drew and I have come to develop positive relationships with many patrons who were initially not happy to be contacted by us. A few of these patrons have even come back to tell us how they have meaningfully improved their life circumstances, and how the interaction with us set them on the right path. To have played any part in a patron accessing resources and becoming motivated to make a positive change in their life is so rewarding for both of us!

We want everyone to feel welcome and safe at the library, and we want to help everyone with getting the information they need. Adding Drew and Tyler to the library team helps expand how we serve the community.

Contact Our Community Resource Manager

Anyone can ask to visit with the community resource manager at the library by calling (573) 817-7031 or emailing Tyler also has available hours for walk-ins at all of our locations. Ask to for him at a service desk.

Columbia Public Library

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays:
9 a.m.-5 p.m.
First and Third Tuesdays of the Month:
9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Second Tuesday of the Month: 1-5 p.m.
Thursdays: 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

Callaway County Public Library

Fourth Tuesday of the Month: 1-4 p.m.

Southern Boone County Public Library

Second Tuesday of the Month: 9 a.m.-Noon

Holts Summit Public Library

Fourth Tuesday of the Month: 9 a.m. to Noon