How to Secure your Library - Security Camera and Alarms


Security Cameras and Alarms for Libraries

Are you interested in learning how to secure your library, but not sure where to start?

Use this piece hand-in-hand with our Beginner’s Guide for Securing Your Perimeter. It provides an excellent foundation and will help you think about the basics before you focus on the specific needs to your library.

As a public library, it’s your responsibility to keep a safe and friendly environment for your patrons. Libraries are pillars of their communities. People from all walks of life use your facility every day as a place to study, work, or host group meetings.

Libraries have unique security challenges because they’re open to the public. Your space is being used for children’s groups and other public events, so safety for all patrons must be a priority. Securing a library can be an intimidating task, but it doesn’t have to be. Even now, you might not be exactly sure what threatens your library or what your options are.

That’s where SCW comes in.

Want us to create a custom floorplan for your library?


Your Library Isn't As Safe As It Could Be

Any building — commercial, communal, industrial, or residential — faces its own unique set of threats. Before a person can act, they have to be aware. We’re here to break down what are potential threats to your library and how exactly you are able to handle them.

These are your top threats:

Criminal Activity or Unaccompanied Minors Inside of Your Library

Criminal Activity or Drug Use in Your Library's Bathroom

Criminal Activity in Outside of Your Library or in the Parking Lot

Fire/Water Damage in Your Library's Bathroom

For a more in-depth look at threats your library may face, please read these security risk factors for libraries

How We Handle Your Threats

Each threat to your library is unique and requires a custom setup and a comprehensive plan. Below, we’ve laid out why you should be aware of each threat, what solutions we recommend for it, and how to best put your solutions into action.

How to Handle Criminal Activity or Unaccompanied Minors Inside of Your Library

A public library has a large volume of daily activity. On any given day, hundreds of people are coming in and out, using your equipment and facilities. Your library should be a safe place for the community, but unfortunately, all public places are vulnerable to violent crimes like mass shootings and other attacks.

While gun violence is a primary threat, it's important to think about all of the daily happenings inside of your library. For instance, you probably host children's reading groups or after-school study sessions. You need to have a plan in place in case a child gets lost or you have an unaccompanied minor situation inside of your library.

You’ll also want to track teenagers and other patrons because they’re often using the library's computers and other expensive technology. With so many people coming in and out , it's possible that your computers will be used for illegal activities such as malware or pornography.

Disputes between patrons and sexual harassment are also issues that come up in public places. Monitoring high traffic areas is vital if you want to secure your library.

What You Need

Wide Angle Turret Camera

Pin Pad

Open/Close Door Sensors

Glass-Break Sensors

Panoramic (360-Degree) Fisheye Camera

It's important to install a wide angle turret camera at each entrance of your library, so you can see who's coming in and out of the building. To make sure your library is even more secure, we recommend placing Pin Pads at each entrance with unique codes for library employees. In the event of theft or vandalism, it's important to be able to track who came in and out of the building during off hours.

We also recommend installing Open/Close Door Sensors and Glass-Break Sensors on doors and large windows/sliding glass doors. These sensors are important if someone tries to break in while your library is closed.

Not only should you install cameras at your entrances, you should also mount a wide angle turret style camera or a Panoramic 360-Degree Camera in each room where children groups meet, so you can cover every angle and track activity in your library. It's extremely important that you also cover areas where library patrons use computers or other expensive equipment. You'll need to make sure you have a direct view of these areas.

How to Handle Criminal Activity in Your Library's Bathroom

A library is a public facility, so it’s important to remember that your restrooms will have a lot of traffic. A large threat in any public facility is drug use in restrooms, specifically opioid use. It’s important to monitor the areas outside of your restroom to know who is consistently coming in and out.

What You Need

Wide Angle Turret Style Camera

Our team does not place cameras in bathrooms or changing stations, as it’s illegal to set a video-recording device in an area where people may disrobe. However, if you have concerns about criminal activity in your library's restrooms, you can install Wide Angle Turret Style Camera in the hallways outside of your bathrooms. It's important to note that if your hallway is longer than 50 feet, you'll need more than one camera installed.

If opioid use in or around your library is a problem, it's important to provide your staff with proper education and training about this issue. For more information, read this article.

How To Handle Criminal Activity in Your Library's Parking Lot

A library parking lot is typically used for more activities than a traditional parking lot. You may have religious or political demonstrations that take place outside of your library. These types of activities can lead to altercations between patrons.

Additionally, it's not uncommon to have people suffering from homelessness or mental illness loitering in your library's parking lot. As a result, you may have panhandlers harassing people as they exit their cars and enter the building.

What You Need

Long Range Bullet Cameras

PTZ Cameras

A library parking lot is typically used for more than just parking, so you’ll need a more robust security system to cover everything that happens day-to-day. Installing a long range bullet cameras or PTZ cameras that overlap just enough in their respective angle creates a triangulation of coverage, allowing you to capture what is happening across your parking lot and outside of your library. Each parking lot shaped and sized differently, so it’s by no means a one-size-fits-all approach. So we’ve done the leg work for you and put together a guide that details the various layouts of outdoor parking lots and indoor parking garages.

How To Handle Fire or Water Damage Inside Your Library

Like any business or organization, libraries need to think about fire and water damage. In the unfortunate event that your roof had a leak, your books would be significantly damaged. Most importantly, however, you have to keep employees and library goers safe.

What You Need

Smart Monitoring

3 in 1 Sensor for Smoke, Fire, and Temperature

Freeze/Leak Detector

Carbon Monoxide Sensor

By going with our Shield Alarm, one that features sensors on the lookout for environmental risks, you’re preventing emergencies before you have to handle them. Shield’s Smart Monitoring instantly sends the proper signal for the right help to arrive, whether that be an ambulance, a fire truck, or a police car.

Likewise, our 3 in 1 Sensor for Smoke, Fire, and Temperature alerts the fire department (and you) when smoke is detected, when an abrupt change in temperature has occurred, and when the temperature has exceeded a set threshold. Meanwhile, the Shield Alarm’s Freeze/Leak Detector notifies you when there’s excessive water or a temperature that is low enough to burst a pipe.


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