Quiet Coverage
Quiet Coverage

May 1, 2004 12:00 PM
By Corrina Stellitano

A library may not seem like an edgy or sophisticated security application. Its residents are confined to shelves; its visitors rarely tend to be threatening or lawless.

In Salt Lake City, however, a new library has risen from a downtown city block, its expansive glass walls inviting the city's residents to visit for more than just reading.

The new 250,000-square-foot Salt Lake City Main Library was designed as a city gathering place. Multiple amphitheaters, a 300-seat auditorium, retail shops ! and of course, books ! all draw residents to the library's doors.

The new library is made up of three unique buildings connected by skywalks. The five-story triangular main building is bordered on one side by a more traditional vertical building and embraced on the other side by a six-story walkable curving wall in which observers can see the lines of the nearby Wasatch Mountains. The southeast side of the triangular building is shaped like a lens and is entirely fronted by glass.

At four times the size of its former home and with a price tag of almost $80 million, this not-so-ordinary library demanded security and environmental control systems as contemporary as its design.

"There is probably not another library quite like this in the United States or in the world, for that matter," says Frans Berghoff, facility manager for the library. "The design and construction companies have won many awards for the building. We host many events here such as films, dances, weddings, art festivals, and cultural events, and the security challenges are many and varied. The sheer volume of patrons is, in itself, challenging to the security of the building and grounds."
Blending in between the stacks

The primary security objective for the library ! with its 1.2-million anticipated visitors this year alone ! was to secure the lines between public and private areas without being obtrusive. Security systems needed to be almost invisible or to blend easily with the unique architecture.

"We considered the increase of population, the planned use of the library, and decided the inherent challenges involved to secure a safe environment for our staff and patrons," Berghoff says. "We tried to find a balance between security and the comfort level of patrons and staff. The library is a place for all people to feel welcome. Patrons are challenging in that they demand their privacy, and security guards on the ground could make them feel intimidated."

Two security officers from an outside vendor are stationed in the lobby at all times, but the initial burden of access control rests on electronic devices.

Roy Stephenson and Glen Wells managed the security aspects of the Salt Lake City library project for the Sandy, Utah-based system integrators Utah Controls. The design of the building and its varied uses required creativity and custom solutions from the beginning, they say. For example, the installers had to position more than 320 miles of electrical and communication wire. "It's an incredible building, but by design, it required that we run all wires (electrical, security, burglar alarms, and CCTV) underneath the raised flooring," Stephenson says. "It was a work in progress the entire time."

Many of the library's systems are orchestrated by products created by Malmo, Sweden-based TAC. Access control in the library is supervised with a TAC I-Net Seven Access Control System.

A Windows 2000-based system, I-Net Seven differs from the previous I-Net versions because it is software-based. Rather than relying on a server, I-Net is operated at the workstation level, reducing its vulnerability and lowering maintenance and installation costs, according to TAC product designers.

For the library security staff, the access control system offered an opportunity to provide personalized access privileges for each employee.

"In the old library we did not have the sophistication of access control or CCTV cameras, and it made security issues difficult and time-consuming to deal with," Berghoff says. "The history we get from the access control system is very valuable for security purposes; it take the guesswork out of which card was used to go where. The card system allows us to limit the level and time of access for various staff members. Keys can be duplicated, but the cards have to be programmed by us. This is a big plus from a security point of view."

Doors in the complex are protected by a variety of Ingersoll-Rand locks, including sheer electromagnetic locks and electric strikes. Doors that divide public and employee areas are guarded by more than 40 HID proximity card readers.

Constructing many exterior and interior walls and doors from glass added unique security challenges for library employees and system installers.

"The new library is very transparent with all the glass windows," Berghoff says. "We needed the capability for faster and easier entry and exit, and we knew that cards and readers would give us more flexibility than would regular keys."

Says Stephenson: "Because the doors and surrounding walls were glass, we had to make custom pedestals for the card readers and have them powder coated to match some of the finishes."

Where the library visitors enter through the huge well-lit atrium, the I-Net Seven program lends additional intelligence. The Salt Lake City library receives funding according to how many guests visit the library. So Utah Controls designed a custom solution using photo-electric sensors at each entrance to count the number of people entering the library each day. The sensors then report that information to the I-Net system.

"The I-Net system enables the staff to run reports nightly to see how many people entered the library," Stephenson says. "The I-Net system can create custom trend logs so the library can control the staffing of employees and volunteers. For example, they now know that on weekends their traffic increases by 30 percent and that traffic after 5 p.m. increases by 20 percent."

At the request of building planners, the Vicon closed circuit television cameras used in the complex were placed in unobtrusive areas, and the sleek appearance of their domes blended well with the modern surroundings.

The new library offers unparalleled access to technology. In addition to 163 Internet-connected computer stations, visitors can check out laptops and plug into LAN connections all over the complex. Checkout stations for more than just books require heightened security, however, Stephenson says. These areas are monitored by Vicon cameras and equipped with panic switches.

CCTV footage is recorded at all times on four 16-camera Vicon Kollector digital video recorders. Footage is retained for 30 days. "The access control and CCTV cameras have helped greatly in keeping shrinkage to a minimum," Berghoff says.

To keep the visitors safe, the 600-stall underground parking garage is interspersed with 28 Code Blue Emergency telephones.

At night, an Ademco Vista burglar alarm system keeps watch and reports to a 24-hour dispatch center. To protect against false alarms, dual technology motion sensors were installed. The dual technology sensors require two separate and simultaneous events from its passive infrared and microwave sensors to trigger an alarm.
Indoor environmental control

The Salt Lake City Library invites light from all sides, but for the sake of delicate books and electronics, control of the environment is essential. The glass forming the walls of the triangular building was equipped with a high UV rating, but automated controls were also necessary to control window blinds and other light-blocking screens, and to open windows in emergencies.

Utah Controls selected the TAC Vista LonWorks system to integrate the HVAC control system, the low-voltage lighting control system and the smoke evacuation system into one central Web-based operating system.

Electronic systems must moderate the environment within the library as the light and seasons change outside its many glass walls. Solar radiation sensors lift and lower window shades to protect delicate books. Overhead screens, or "clouds," move to shelter the children from sharp sunlight in the open children's atrium. In the winter, hot water circulating through the sidewalks melts accumulating snow.

Because the complex includes a physical plant that also serves the adjacent county government building and the retail area within the walkable wall building, careful monitoring was necessary. The city needed to be able to track energy usage for each separate entity ! no small task when the environmental control system operates eight air-handling units, more than 70 terminal units, 30 zones of pressure control and a hot and chilled water plant.

The open design of the buildings' architecture ! ruled by huge open spaces ! also required special systems. The TAC UL-864-rated smoke evacuation system incorporates a firefighter control panel that teams up with the building management system to pressurize select areas of the building in the event of a fire.

The variety of third-party systems integrated into the Salt Lake City library required careful planning and the help of LonWorks, BacNet and ModBus, says Jarrod Curtis, the applications engineering manager at Utah Controls.

"Because the TAC Vista system is based on open system protocols, it made the integration of devices that use LonWorks, BacNet and ModBus possible without the need for complex and expensive gateways," he says. "The ability for all of the building systems to interact with one another provides the owner with the most comfortable, energy efficient and secure building possible."

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