Proposal for the Acquisition and Use of Photo-ID Badges


The Emergency Response and Security Task Force proposes that the Library begin a process of securing ID cards for employees by appropriating funds to acquire photo ID cards for the library’s faculty, academic professionals, civil service, and graduate assistants, requiring their use starting with the beginning of the fall term.  It is also requested that this initial round include generic student IDs for Systems, Facilities, and IRRC students.

Upon implementation of this proposal is completed, a second proposal will be forthcoming regarding the general issuance of generic “Student Assistant” cards for student employees.


The University Library’s human resource pool currently consists of 158 faculty and academic personnel, 209 civil service personnel, 116 graduate assistants, and 716 student employees that pride themselves on providing the utmost in public service. The facilities play host to approximately 77,000 patrons annually, cover over 730,000 gross assignable square feet, and hold $1.5 billion dollars in University assets when one only considers the collection.

The joke is often made that patrons enter the Main Library and exclaim, “Where are all of the books?” Unfortunately, the same can be said for our faculty and staff when there is little to differentiate them from the clients they serve. Even more saddening is the fact that many library personnel would not recognize one another as colleagues given the infrequency with which our paths cross, especially when one considers interaction between those in the Main/Undergraduate Library area and the various decentralized departmental libraries. When security issues over the last several years are taken into account, the inability of the public to identify library personnel and library personnel to identify one-another, the lack of an identification-badge remains highly problematic.

Consequently, the Library’s Emergency Response and Security Task Force proposes that the library adopt a library ID card similar to those worn by other units within the campus community and ubiquitous in other cultural institutions (Smithsonian Institution and other museums, OSU, NYPL, LC, National Library of Medicine…). It is our desire that these badges be acquired for all faculty and academic personnel, civil service employees, and graduate assistants.

Both Library Human Resources and the campus Personnel Services Office (PSO) vetted this proposal, confirming that the requirement that Library personnel sport an identification badge it is not governed by any current bargaining unit contracts. In addition, the Library’s Services Advisory Committee has reviewed and vetted the proposal as has the Library Staff Steering Committee (LSSC).


The Library Photo-ID would consist of a simple, white plastic card. Produced directly from file photos maintained with the I-Card Office, they would not require any additional effort on the part of library personnel or students, and replacements could be generated easily. The card’s primary elements would include the photograph, the individual’s unit name (Law Library, Cataloging, Library Administration), and the library logo. Names would be withheld to provide a measure of security for public services personnel cautious about such personal information, and the cards could be worn with either a clip or a break-away lanyard that would obviate any threat to the individual should someone attempt to grab the card.

Photo-ID Card Benefits Include

  • Permit first-responders (whether library security or police) to quickly identify library personnel in the event of an emergency.
  • Add a measure of security within the library, as the ID cards will enable library personnel to more readily recognize who works within the library and belongs in non-public spaces.
  • Identify library personnel to the public, thereby assisting us in the provision of service within the institution.
  • Serve as a more convenient Stacks access pass than the I-Card, as it would be worn.


Photo-ID Card Costs

The cost of developing and securing ID cards for the library’s academic personnel, civil service, and graduate assistant population would run approximately $2,438.50. This breaks down as:

  • $175.00 for a custom badge design. This includes removing names from the basic design and adding a single library-specific graphic.
  • $1,509.00 for badges for each member of this population at $3.00 per card in the initial batch with ongoing costs (for new employees, GAs, etc…) equaling about $3.50 per card.
  • $754.50 for breakaway lanyards at $1.50 per lanyard.

As mentioned earlier, this would provide badges for all permanent library personnel and generic student badges for IRRC, Systems, and Facilities.

  Why Just Using the I-Card is Not a Good Option

  • The I-Card actually does link to personal information (library account, campus accounts, etc…) whereas a Library-issued photo-ID would not.