Using Security Cameras at Public libraries
Every place and has its own rules and regulations that protect its privacy, and prevent any outside violations. In libraries, people find their tranquility, where they can spend much of their time, whether a full or a part-time worker, a full or a part-time student, academics, field study researchers, and others; all those people visit libraries for one purpose: to get instructed and entertained.
Such a huge place like public library has at least no less than 500 people at a time, including the staff workers or the visitors. Therefore, with the various interests and purposes for their existence at this place, Libraries put a law for protecting the library, its belonging, its resources, its facilities, and most importantly protecting the people’s safety and comfort. There are many valuable ways and modern techniques to do so, and one of these trustworthy methods is security cameras and surveillance systems.
Having a Security and Surveillance System at any public Library would lessen, if not, prevent committing any act of violation, However, how can we use such technology? And how can we invest it in such a place?
Public libraries will take all reasonable measures to protect its collections and assets from theft and deliberate or reckless damage; and to protect all its buildings from unauthorized intrusion and vandalism.
How Security Cameras can benefit Public Libraries
Security: Patrons of all ages and types use libraries every day. Security cameras placed around the library can help keep them safe while reading, researching and browsing.
Prevent theft: It doesn’t matter whether it’s a Gutenberg bible or a Judy Blume book – every part of a library’s collection is valuable. A video surveillance system working in conjunction with a barcode and magnetic book control system could help prevent book theft.
Flexibility – IP video systems allow users to place cameras where they are needed, and reconfigure them on a whim. Libraries, especially those that host community events, author readings, or children’s book clubs, could benefit from the flexibile security that IP video provides.
Remote monitoring – Video surveillance systems that use IP cameras and a Network Video Recorder (NVR) allow libraries to broadcast their surveillance footage over the internet. This allows management and security to check in on libraries at any time should security concerns arise. The broadcast function could also be used to archive speakers or special events at the library.
Potential Risks of Library Security Cameras
Privacy – Library surveillance cameras should only record public areas like stacks, reading areas, conference rooms, and circulation desks. Keep cameras out of restrooms and break rooms to protect the privacy of employees and patrons.
Considerations for Library Security Camera Systems
Libraries can vary widely – personal collections, public libraries, law libraries, science libraries, presidential libraries, even the Library of Congress all have different security needs. Consider the following when setting up a library surveillance system:
What do you consider to be your most pressing security issue?
Do you have any rare or valuable items in your collection?
What type of security system do you currently have in place?
Have you had any security threats in the past year?
Setup advice for Municipal Library Video Surveillance Systems
Place cameras near entrances and exits to get clear photos of patrons as they enter and exit
Cameras placed over stacks can help give a quick survey of an area, place other cameras closer in to give a more detailed look.
Place cameras around valuable items like rare books and displays
Security cameras will be used where needed to discourage violations of the Library’s
code of conduct to assist Library staff in preventing the recurrence of any violations, and to provide law enforcement assistance in prosecuting criminal activity. The purpose of this policy is to establish guidelines for the placement and use of digital video cameras, as well as the access and retrieval of recorded digital video images at the Farmington Community Library. Cameras may be installed in locations where staff and patrons would not have an expectation of privacy. Examples include common areas of the Library such as entrances, near book and media collections, public seating, delivering areas and parking lots. Cameras will not be installed in areas where staff and public have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as restrooms. Thus, follow these procedures to guarantee a full protection:
- Digital video security cameras are installed in selected indoor and outdoor locations at both Library buildings.
- A sign will be posted at Library entrance informing the public that security cameras are in use.
- Selected staff will have access to the real time monitors, although activity is only randomly monitored.
- Only the Director, or his/her designee(s) will have access to the archived material in pursuit of incidents of criminal activity or violation of the Expected Library Behavior Policy.
- Images will typically be stored for a period of up to 21 calendar days. As new images are recorded, the oldest images will be automatically deleted.
- Selected digital video may be saved for as long as required (hereinafter referred to as “Stored Digital Video Records”).
- A Stored Digital Video Record is considered a Library record under the Library’s Privacy Act (“Privacy Act”) and only released consistent with said Act.
- Stored Digital Video Records may be used to provide tangible evidence as a means of identification, and may be turned over to the police by the Director or his/her designee, consistent with the provisions of the Privacy Act.
Staff and patron safety is the first priority in any threatening situation. The protection of Library property is of secondary importance. Cameras will not be installed for the express purpose of monitoring staff performance. Requests from the public for access to camera images will be considered in light of the provisions of the Privacy Act. Questions from the public may be directed to the Director.
Marketing Department T. L
Zainab Al Qaisi