Page B1.1 . 22 September 2004                     
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    Building Library Security

    by Mark McComb

    The public library tends to present an inherent security contradiction. Precious people and objects need to be safe within, yet they also need to come and go often, easily, and appropriately. Editor

    The goal of a library security system should be to provide a safe and secure facility for employees, resources, and patrons. At the same time, the system must perform these functions as seamlessly as possible, without interfering with the library's objective of easily and simply providing patron services.

    In addition to electronic surveillance and intrusion detection systems, there are many design devices that architects can apply to make libraries safe without making them fortresses.

    Consider, for instance, site planning and landscape design issues. Site lighting at vehicular and pedestrian entrances and circulation areas should be continuous and sufficient to support both a secure atmosphere and appropriate surveillance.

    Appropriate and clear signage includes off-site and entrance signage as well as on-site signage with directional, cautionary, and parking signs. Signs should generally not be provided to identify sensitive areas.

    Landscaping elements can enhance security by deterring unwanted entry while not allowing criminals to conceal themselves from security personnel and closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems. Buffers and barriers that, if appropriately placed, can enhance the landscape design while still providing protection include walls, fences, trenches, plantings, trees, static barriers, sculptures, and street furniture.   >>>

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    Site design security features should include continuous site lighting, landscape barriers, and open and low landscaping elements.
    Image: Michael Bulander

    ArchWeek Image

    When there are two or more entrances, it is important to maintain a single point of entry to the secure area of the library.
    Image: Michael Bulander


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