Events in the library this week had me thinking about ownership and entitlement.
People or a singular person decided to test our security systems, which basically meant they stole from us. They figured out how to go past the security gates and not set them off, with a bag full of items that did not belong to them. Among the items were fiction, non fiction, magazines, movie DVD’s and graphic novels. An eclectic mix and I suspect we will find more as the evidence stashed all over the place will take a while to find it. We use an RFID tagging system, and this is what they got around so they did not set off alarms.
What makes people think these items are there for the taking? How do they understand ownership to work? Do they say, ‘Hey, my taxes pays for this library, so by default the books belong to me’?
I started getting all righteous in my head, how dare they, but then I thought about a visit to a pub the other week with my husband, where we realised after we had left that we didn’t pay for an item we ate. Did we go back? Did we confess our sins?
No we did not!
How many of us don’t go back and confess or choose not to point out missing items from a receipt? We all feel a sense of smugness because we got away with it.
I like to think of myself as an honest, upstanding citizen, but I’m probably just fooling myself. I’m not unique, many like to think it’s all about getting one over on ‘the man’, and we justify it by seeing the company or business or library for that matter as large and thriving and that one measly coffee, a bowl of chips or a missing book won’t make a dent in their huge profits.
For some, it must be the thrill of maybe getting caught or the feeling they are entitled due to a hard life, difficult childhood (insert excuse here).
But now there are things missing from the library that others can’t read or watch, and the library accepts this collateral damage as the price you pay so that customers can have easy access to resources, it’s just that some just take that a little more literally.