Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery

Guideline 414 - Public Address Announcements

The Library & Gallery building is equipped with a public address (PA) system. The system microphone is located at the security desk. Announcements through the PA system reach all public areas of the library.

However, PA announcements disturb Library users in their studies. Therefore, Library guidelines strictly limits use of the PA system to:

  1. Fire or other evacuation announcement

  2. Fire/alarm system tests

  3. Routine Library closing announcements (2 only)

  4. Paging in case of bona fide emergency. [See further restrictions below.]


Announcements, if they must be made, should be as short and clearly articulated as possible.
Speak clearly and directly into the microphone, in an even tone and voice volume.
Do not shout or whisper.
Do not repeat an announcement.


While on duty at the security desk, staff will occasionally receive requests by telephone or in-person that a public address (PA) announcement be made for someone thought to be in the Library & Gallery.

When receiving a request for PA announcement:

  1. Obtain the caller's name, person to be paged, and determine the nature of the emergency. In-person requestor (walk-up) must check the building thoroughly by him or herself -- no announcement should be made in this case.

  2. Use discretion to decide if the emergency is severe enough to warrant making the announcement. Experience has shown that we generally don't have more than one bona-fide emergency a week during the academic semester. Making one announcement has the effect of encouraging more requests, most of which are not bona-fide emergencies.
    See following examples:

    • medical emergency (e.g., child sick) - yes

    • death in family - yes

    • roommate locked out - no

    • was to meet person in library to study - no

    • same, to drive home - no

    • person has books, notes - no

    • prof. changed time of final exam - yes

    • Library staff to report to office, etc. - yes, if supervisor judges it an emergency.

[Note: Do not page for relief at security desk -- use the telephone.]

  1. Explain guideline to caller and whether you can or cannot make the announcement.

  2. If appropriate make a single announcement, requesting person to come to security desk. Keep the announcement as brief as possible. Do not repeat the announcement.

  3. Allow a short time to elapse, then report results to caller. Get the caller's telephone number if a return call was desired. Do not tie up the security phone unduly.

  4. At certain times, library administrators or supervisors may prohibit announcements (e.g., during lectures or regents' meetings). If requests are received during this time, seek supervisory approval or some other way to get message to person.

previously implemented guideline
rewritten 10/28/91.

reviewed 12/7/10, Tenney

Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery . University of Maryland, Baltimore County . 1000 Hilltop Circle . Baltimore MD 21250
(410) 455-2232. Questions and comments to: Web Services Librarian