Securing a Historical Treasure
Securing a Historical Treasure

Jan 1, 2005 12:00 PM

Approaching the entrance to Missouri's newly remodeled Kansas City Central Library, one is struck with awe at its grandeur. Built in 1904, the former First National Bank building is a historical landmark. Constructed from pale Georgian marble, the building's appearance is formidable six Ionic columns stand guard in front of the first three floors of the library's exterior. The library's massive bronze doors open into what was once the bank's lobby now restored to its 1926 grandeur. Bronze chandeliers, soaring windows and white fluted marble columns that rise to a filigreed ceiling are just some of the facility's many architectural details.

The Central Library is one of 10 facilities of the Kansas City Public Library network, and with eight floors, its largest. Care was taken during remodeling to maintain the integrity and historical beauty of the building, a consideration that extended to the installation of the library's security system.

An Andover Continuum card access/CCTV/digital video system protects the library's books, documents and materials, and its employees and patrons, yet it remains "almost invisible," according to Steve Searcy, sales engineer for Thermal Components, Lenexa, Kan., the local Tour Andover Controls dealer/installer.

The Central Library's building committee, in cooperation with project manager MC Lioness Realty, looked at several options before choosing a security system. "We needed a system that was compatible with the library's enterprise network and allowed us to centrally manage our cardholder database and our door schedules from the Central Library location," says Sandra Holderman, the library's deputy director of support services. "We also wanted a system that was modular in design so it would grow as the library continues to grow. The Andover security system was already installed at our Southeast branch."

Two Continuum CyberStation workstations, located in the library's security office, are used to modify door schedules, view and acknowledge alarms, open and close controlled doors, add/delete cardholder records, and enable/disable personnel access. Built-in badging software allows library staff to create more than 225 badges for both permanent staff and various library vendors. "I feel I have tight control with this system," says Jerry Houchins, a member of the Central Library's maintenance staff who uses the Continuum PC workstation on a daily basis. CyberStation allows him to grant special access privileges to temporary cardholders.

The Continuum system at the Central Library includes 45 card readers, which are installed near perimeter doors, elevators, the data center, wiring closets, the Library's special collections area, the closed stack area, and staff offices. The CCTV system includes 95 cameras mounted discreetly throughout the building, which provide the around-the-clock surveillance necessary in a public facility. Five Integral Technologies DVX Digital Video Recorders, located out of library customer view, automatically record when motion is detected by any of the cameras or when a controlled door goes into alarm mode. The Library's combined access control, CCTV, and digital video recording system:

  • Protects materials and property in aisles and closed areas

  • Increases protection of expensive collections and special exhibits

  • Makes it easier to monitor circulation desk activities

  • Enables viewing of parking lots and outside areas

  • Keeps customers out of staff spaces and non-public areas.

"Several features of the digital video system have proven extremely useful," Holderman says. "For example, the 'masking' feature enables us to block vehicle traffic from our exterior camera's view to avoid unnecessary recording."

Video from a DVX digital recording unit can be instantly retrieved in the event of a security incident. If legal action is necessary, the library security staff can export a video clip of the incident to a CD and give it to the authorities as evidence.

Motion detected by the cameras when the library is closed will send an alarm to a central monitoring station, which will page or call appropriate staff members to investigate. "By using cameras as motion detectors, we can eliminate the need to install a separate motion sensor system throughout the library," Houchins says.

The Kansas City Public Library plans to eventually network all its branch facilities to the Central TLibrary's security system.

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