The security guards at Firestone Library see more of the student body than most – quite literally. These guards have witnessed everything from naked frat boys to Chinese food deliveries to the Reserve Room during exam period.
The job descriptions of the security guards at Firestone include checking PUIDs, making sure no one steals books and ensuring that the doors are locked after hours. Their daily work, however, entails much more.
Security supervisor, Officer Sharon Mitchell, who has been working at Firestone since 1992, said, "Our job is to maintain an environment that's comfortable for students to study in."
This job includes stopping students from rollerblading or playing Frisbee in the library. She explained that she once had to stop a student who was in-line skating on the B-Floor.
Officer Darven Alizil, who has worked at Firestone for two years, said, "I was on my rounds one night, and I suddenly thought I was at Lahiere's." He came across a desk, set like a dinner table with a T-bone steak entree, french fries and an ice-cream sundae. "That's what I call fine dining at Firestone," Alizil said.
Officer Vernon Ramsey, whose domain includes the Reserve Room from 11:45 p.m. to 1:45 a.m., said the wildest thing he has ever encountered in the library was two naked young men, who, in their inebriated state, strayed from their fraternity brothers in their annual naked study break.
Ramsey chuckled as he paraphrased the boys asking him for help. "They said, 'Dude – you gotta help us, dude – you gotta get us out of here, dude.' " He said he sees the guys every now and then, but he has stopped making fun of them.
Stopping to chat
Although many students, preoccupied by their academic commitments, do not take time to stop and chat with the security guards, there are other students – especially the Firestone frequenters – who develop a rapport with the guards.
Mitchell enjoys reading crime and suspense novels by Walter Mosley and John Grisham. "A lot of the interaction (with students) comes from the books we've read," she said. "A student will see me reading a book and say 'Hey, I read that book,' and then they recommend others."
Alizil said he is always surprised "to find out that students come from all around the world, places I'll probably never see."
Ramsey's only complaint about students is that they leave a lot of trash on the tables in the Reserve Room. "It makes us look bad when people leave trash," said Ramsey, since the janitors have to clean up after students.
The perks of the job include scaring freshmen. Alizil said he enjoys opening the electric front door and watching students as they try to figure out how the door opened. "It's funny to see their reactions," Alizil said.
Mitchell said Firestone has many secrets, including the 'Lady of the Library,' the ghost that she and others said haunts the C-Floor late at night. Special Collection Assistant Sandra Arrington said the Firestone Lady is draped in black garb.
"You can only see her eyes," she said, adding that the Lady is accompanied by organ music. "I've heard the organ."