or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk

Safe Places for Meeting Online Sellers

   May 6th, 2015

Safe Place SignMy brother told me about this a few months ago, but I forgot about it until I saw a local news article this week.

Police Departments nationwide have been designating themselves as "Safe Zones" for the face-to-face part of online sales. If you buy or sell something online, you can use the local Police Station as the place to meet the person to exchange the merchandise.

What a great idea. Of course, my next thought was, "hey, libraries could do that too." And of course they could, but Police Stations clearly are a better choice. As the article about the Chelmsford Police points out,

The lobby inside of the Chelmsford Police Station is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is equipped with surveillance cameras that constantly record activity in the station. This added security provides a level of protection that most public meeting places cannot.

Besides, libraries often have rules about using the library for commerce - although most of those rules exist in a gray area.

And two more links from the above-linked Lifehacker article:

I don't personally do a lot of online buying and selling that requires meeting the person. However, I'm sure this is something that will become more common in the future, and it's nice to know this service exists.

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5 Responses to “Safe Places for Meeting Online Sellers”

  1. W Says:

    Just wanted to let you know that the picture of a Safe Place sign that you have used here is misleading and does not relate to your post. This sign is an indication that the location is a “Safe Place” (http://nationalsafeplace.org/), often a library, school, fire station, etc. These are places for runaway teens who need access to help from such things as abuse and neglect.

  2. Brian Herzog Says:

    @W: thank you, but yes, I did know that particular sign didn’t related to the Police Departments as a meeting place. The sentiment related though, as sort of a designated “safe” area, and I liked the idea that eventually this service might be so common that there would be a special sign for it.

  3. W Says:

    I just wanted to make sure readers were aware because I think Safe Place is an important resource for teens and did not want it to be confused. Thanks!

  4. The Librarian With No Name Says:

    If it’s such a safe place, why is the person on the sign getting ambushed by a yeti?

    (I didn’t know about that program, W, but it looks really great. I’ll definitely be passing it along to admin to see if our system can get involved.)

  5. Krista Says:

    My library has security cameras throughout the premises, and we have noticed people using our parking lot as a safe meeting place for their online transactions.