The most I have ever seen work in any other library was 1 per shift. I think Vancouver needs to make up for a badly, yet exquisitely designed library. It’s amazing to look at, but one of the most dangerous libraries in the US. There are several spots a suicidal person can kill themselves here.
Other libraries that had security guards are Salem, Aberdeen, and Pacific Beach in San Diego. The security seems to be a part of the cultural area, because there are smaller cities that will have a guard, but other cities of the same size will not have a security guard. It depends a lot on the demographics.
I was very surprised to see a full time guard at the Portland North library. Portland North has a high population of African Americans in the neighborhood. It was a little alarming for me to see and I had to get out of there as quickly as possible. I didn’t feel comfortable trying to sleep in my car there.
The security guards take over for the librarians in having to shush ruffians. The greater the number of incidents, the more it becomes important to hire someone to deter noise and disruption. Even though there are security guards at librarians, that doesn’t mean librarians will stop telling people to be quiet.
I heard a black guy singing at the computer lab for a few minutes at Portland North library. The librarian stepped in to tell him to quiet down. He asked if his music was too loud. How could that black guy be so stupid?
The security at Vancouver library carry handcuffs. I never noticed other security guards carrying handcuffs, but it makes sense for when things really get out of hand. Usually though, I would suspect the security to keep their hands off the suspect and call for a professional cop to initiate contact.
Is stealing books a problem? Usually, the security will spend most of their time at the front doors. They may keep control over the book sensors and have to give chase to book thieves.
Libraries, these days, carry a lot more technology for people to use now. It can be more important than ever to make sure that expensive electronics are secured. There are many people who stand back and watch for opportunities at libraries. They may even watch other patrons and figure out the right time to steal personal belongings from other people.
If the library needs a security guard, then that is a clear sign they had many troubles in the past.