Security by the Book
- By Ralph C. Jensen
- Feb 01, 2017
Pick any county in the United States, money is
scarce to non-existent, and in the pecking order of
who gets the available money, the county library
is way down the line. Funding has been scarce for
the Uinta County Library in Evanston, Wyoming.
Despite being loved by the local citizens, the library just didn’t
seem to be a pressing need.
There haven’t been any recent break-ins at the library, though
it has long been recognized that the security technology in use,
was not first rate. The few security cameras the library had no
longer functioned and a second-hand anti-theft gate didn’t have
all of the necessary parts to work properly considering the layout
of the building.
“There was a strong feeling that personal security took precedence over security of property, so we
focused on cameras,” said George Strawley,
Uinta County librarian. “The county
commissioners were already imposing
budget cuts across the board because of
sharp drops in the energy revenues that
mean so much to Wyoming’s economy.
The pain has been felt across the state.”
Strawley was determined to upgrade
the security system, not just for protection,
but also to determine how well the
functionality of the library, specifically
how many people were coming and going
on any given day. The bottom line, for
Strawley, was the library being used?
“Libraries run on statistics, circulation
figures, patron registrations and door
counts to name a few,” Strawley said.
“When our old system that used a beam
counter failed on us about a year ago, we
were left unable to gauge how many people
we were actually serving.”
Knowing that the library needed security,
but that money was tight, Strawley
found himself in a bind. He began a conversation
with an integrator in Wyoming,
who quoted a price for equipment and installation.
That plan was just out of reach.
A second conversation with an individual
in the security industry revealed a
possible plan that eventually worked out.
Strawley was able to stay within budget
and get a best-of-breed solution.
The Uinta County Library is as old as
the county itself. Well, almost. The library
came to light in 1906, whereas the County
Seat of Evanston was incorporated
around 1886. Libraries of yesterday functioned
primarily as a place for outdated
news and a collection of books that could
be checked out by a patron.
Today’s library is a social media hub.
While every county in the state has lost significant
revenue, and commissioners have
been watching every dollar they spend, they
were able to get the project off the ground
by installing the necessary conduit. The
building didn’t initially have what was needed
as The Uinta County Library moved to
their present location, a location that used
to be an independent grocery store, about
30 years ago.
With the conduit installed, the next
step was pulling cable. The integrator
chose North American Cable Equipment
(NACE) DataTronix Cat-5e throughout.
These cables can be used in any application
up to 100 meters, and they exceed
Cat-5e requirements as per ANSI/TIA/
“These conductors are 100 percent
pure copper and not a copper-clad aluminum
like you see in some cheap cables on
the market,” said Aaron Starr, president
of NACE. “The jacket is a high-quality
PVC, and the wire can withstand a pulling
force of greater than 25 pounds.”
Because every security installation
needs a little bit of software to connect
equipment to the network, the library
selected Salient Systems CompleteView
VMS. CompleteView ONE edition of the
product was the right fit, but also included
Cognimatics software to count patrons.
“The system works great. The Salient
VMS allows us the ability to do a thumbnail
search of captured images. We are
getting numbers from the people-counting
software,” Strawley said. “I still think the
numbers we are getting will be within a
reasonable range. It’s possible to install
these cameras using someone who has
general technical know-how, but you do
run a risk. I think this is a good example
of what a professional integrator can help
The VMS provides a full feature set
and investigative tools for deployments up
to 32 cameras; the price works out well for
facilities on a budget.
“Lost property identification was an
unintended benefit of the new surveillance
system,” said Brian Carle, director of
product strategy at Salient Systems. “Library
staff can quickly match up owners
to property, or easily identify what happened
with missing property using their
new investigation tools. The already mentioned
thumbnail feature will expand that
time frame to a series of new thumbnails.
With three clicks of the mouse, the library
staff can narrow down an event to within
Who is Coming, Who is Going
The library’s funding is directly tied to
the number of people using the facility,
so Cognimatics was chosen to count the
number of patrons entering and exiting
the library each day. With Cognimatics, a
camera was no longer just a camera but is
instead turned into a highly advanced and
powerful sensor that delivers hard data or
statistics and not primarily video or still
images. This way of viewing the camera
opens up for an entirely different field of
new products and solutions that are not
traditionally solved by using a camera.
“We are thrilled that we were able to
help the Uinta County Library restore
their sense of security,” said Steve Darragh,
business area director, South Central,
Axis Communications Inc. “We’re
also glad to see that they’ve deployed
Cognimatics to help with people counting
and to enhance operational efficiency.
As the educational hub of the county, it’s
important that visitors feel safe and secure
while browsing literary masterpieces and
learning about new and exciting topics
The camera sensor is an abundant
source of raw data, but the information
hidden in the video or still image is often
hard to extract. Cognimatics’ technology
is designed to unveil this hidden information
even in harsh conditions. The technology
for detecting objects in video and
still images is based on so-called Machine
Learning and has a unique patent pending
technology that gives small and reliable
software the ability to detect objects in a
wide variety of shapes, appearances, lightings and also viewing angles. The technology is very flexible and
can be applied to detect a large range of objects such as faces,
eyes, torsos, cars and more.
Now, with everything in place, the library fully restored its
security capabilities and still has plenty of room for expansion
when that time comes. For example, the library can opt to enhance
the system by using the TouchView Mobile app, which will
allow full system access using any Apple or Android smartphone
or tablet. Using the app, authorized library employees have access
to video, digital PTZ camera control and recordings from the
system throughout the facility.
“This has been a well-organized installation and one that we
were happy to consult and offer professional advice,” said Brent
Edmunds, president of Stone Security, located in Salt Lake City.
“Each piece of the installation fits well together and will serve the
needs of the library very well.”
When it comes to security, sometimes the budget is the only
thing standing in the way. When Strawley needed security for
both the library and the books inside, he was able to find solutions
that matched his needs. Now, the Uinta
County Library can move past making security
products they already have work, and enjoy
an interoperable system that will serve them
well for decades to come.
This article originally appeared in the February 2017 issue of Security Today.