Student Perceptions of the Library during Times of Terror: Exploratory Research Surveying Students Affected by the October 1 Shooting and Their Impressions of Safety in the Academic Library Community

Kelsey Mazmanyan
2020 College and Research Libraries  
the history of Las Vegas, Nevada was forever changed when a mass shooting claimed the lives of 58 innocent people at a concert site on the Vegas Strip. Only three miles away, the University of Nevada Las Vegas and its main branch, Lied Library, became a space where students sought shelter and answers. To understand how this event impacted students' perceptions of safety at UNLV, nine qualitative interviews were conducted asking students to consider the various qualities of a public place that
more » ... public place that make it feel safe. Students' responses were analyzed to determine similarities and differences of "safe" locations on campus. Although each participant shared unique viewpoints as to where they would seek shelter and why, it was discovered that most students did not alter their actions regarding spatial use after the incident. More research must be conducted to determine if the majority of UNLV students feel similarly about their campus spaces and how the university can improve upon feelings of safety in the academic community. On the night of Sunday, October 1, 2017, a man opened fire from above on a crowd at the Route 91 Festival held adjacent to the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. A total of 58 people were killed, and hundreds were injured. This attack occurred only three miles away from the University of Nevada Las Vegas' (UNLV) campus and the campus' main library branch, Lied Library, which was fully staffed and occupied like any other night. The shooting took place at roughly 10 p.m.; Students who were in Lied Library at this time learned of the events happening close by, and some did not want to leave the building. As documented in university statements, campus police had determined that the vicinity of UNLV was safe and not under threat. This caused the library and other campus buildings to operate under normal closing procedures, asking everyone in the space to leave by midnight. In the days following the shooting, some students reported that they were afraid to leave the library that night and were frustrated by the decision for the building to close among the chaos. The following morning, UNLV's President released a statement about the incident but chose not to close the school to help create a
doi:10.5860/crl.81.1.109 fatcat:jp6achc2prbb5lsywyuwoq4kte