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State Spotlight:
Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Library, Clearinghouse and Resources

The State of California ’s Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Library is one of the nation’s leading law enforcement libraries. POST, the agency housing the library, sets guidelines for peace officer selection, develops training materials, and ensures that law enforcement officers meet the California legislature’s training standards.

Law enforcement students at Peace Officer Standard and Training (POST) lecture.
(Photo courtesy -- State of California Peace Officer Standard and Training Agency)

The POST Library holds hard copies of approximately 8,000 books, reports, documents, journals, magazines and papers, and about 200 online subscription titles, from Cultural Diversity At Work to Recruitment Today to Undercover to Homeland Security.   POST Supervising Librarian Phyl Barrus, a librarian since 1987 and a six-year POST veteran, puts her library’s holdings in plain terms.  She says, “We have mostly things concerning law enforcement…anything concerning the job that guys do out on the streets – the sheriffs, the California Highway Patrol, and the police…our categories range from administrative to police safety to investigations.”  

POST Library customers include all California law enforcement professionals, POST employees, and any member of the public who needs law enforcement resources.   Barrus reports that national and international electronic publications about law enforcement, to which POST Library links, are frequently “pertinent to the general public.”  “When your child is missing: A Family Survival Guide,” a US Department of Justice publication written by families of missing children, is an important example. 

People “in crisis,” Barrus says, “don’t know where to look, and we offer them one option.”  “I’m into pushing information and resources to people who need them,” she asserts.

Barrus calls POST Library’s services a “hidden resource” for customers in local libraries. “We index magazines and journals that commercial databases don’t.  Online customers can find items in our database that they can’t find anywhere else.” Debbie Dalton, a former POST librarian, now working at the California Department of Transportation Library, worked at Sacramento Public Library and remembers college students asking for law enforcement materials for their papers.  At that time, Dalton and her colleagues weren’t aware they could access POST Library’s source texts on law enforcement.  “We want to get out the word that the POST Library uses OCLC…a lot of our [POST’s] books, and specialized collections are a click away for library customers,” Barrus says.

Response to Domestic Violence, part of the California POST Library collection.
(Photo courtesy -- State of California Peace Officer Standard and Training Agency

 

California POST Library earns national and international acclaim  

Because California’s POST Library has moved the field of law enforcement research onto the Internet, it is earning recognition far beyond California.  “When we first went online,” Barrus says, ”the US Department of Justice’s library service, the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS), was very favorably impressed with our catalogs…And, a FBI librarian was really happy that we had the indexed FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin back to the 1960’s, making the FBI’s information available on the Internet, for free.”

In June 2006, the California POST Library staff was invited to the World Criminal Justice Library Network conference in Toronto, Canada.  In Toronto, POST Library staff introduced the California agency’s resources to an international law enforcement and criminal justice audience.

Contact the POST Library

California library customers may borrow materials from the POST Library via interlibrary loan, using OCLC or an ALA form.  To contact POST library staff, call (916) 227-4852 or email library@post.ca.gov. The library is open to law enforcement personnel Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, except state holidays and is located at 1601 Alhambra Boulevard, Sacramento, California 95816.

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