Booking an Upgrade
Farmington community library upgrades two locations
- By Kim Rahfaldt
- Mar 01, 2018
The Farmington Community Library is a district library
system in metropolitan Detroit that serves a large and
diverse community with more than 90,000 residents.
With two locations, the main library in Farmington
Hills and a branch in Farmington, the library (can be
singular though two buildings) provides resources for teachers, students,
parents, seniors and local businesses among others.
Coordinator of technology, Mary Carleton, works hard to support
a welcoming space where people can read, research, work on
projects, hang out with their children or take classes.
After meeting with local police to assess potential threats and
vulnerabilities within their facilities, library director, Elyse Streit had
several integrators assemble “design build” proposals addressing the
safety concerns determined by law enforcement. The library needed
access control to restricted areas and employee entrances, video surveillance
at the building perimeter, parking lots, restricted and common
areas, and intrusion detection on all controlled doors. They also
wanted to use as much of their current Symmetry security system
components and infrastructure to reduce costs.
Simplex Grinnell won the bid and upgraded the two libraries to
AMAG Technology’s Symmetry Professional Access Control and
Symmetry CompleteView Video Management System with CompleteView
Pro NVRs. The head-end systems communicate over the
library’s existing network to control and monitor security functions
at both locations.
The upgrade secures 13 door locations using proximity card readers.
A combination of Symmetry EN-DBCs and Multinode controllers
provided a flexible implementation process.
Carleton upgraded the aging camera system with Symmetry
CompleteView VMS and PowerPro NVR with analog connections to
use 21 existing analog cameras and add 23 new Panasonic IP-based
cameras. The new camera system provides clear video playback,
along with video surveillance of the building perimeter, parking lots,
elevators and common areas.
“The solution offers the library the ability to leverage their current
investment, with the added flexibility to expand and integrate
their security needs,” said John Keith, Simplex Grinnell project manager.
“The security system improvements were put in place to guard
against potential threats to employees, library patrons, along with
damaged and stolen assets.”
The library has long been up to code with its fire department, but
safety and security standards are less clearly defined, something the
library is catching up on according to Carleton.
“NFPA 101 egress is required when installing access control
with door locking systems,” Keith said. “All doors meet the code
An all-glass door framed in metal proved
a challenge for the upgrade. While beautiful,
the police and everyone involved in the
project said it was a security nightmare.
AMAG and Simplex Grinnell worked together
with the library’s maintenance crew
and three different locksmiths to secure the
door without smashing out all the glass and
starting from scratch.
“Now the area where the accountant
works and Library Board of Trustees meet
has solid access control and camera views,”
The library uses a large conveyer system
to sort books. Its nickname is IGOR because
it’s so monstrous. It contains many places
where a child could stick their hands and get
hurt. They post warning signs, but Carleton
and Streit knew more needed to be done to
prevent a possible accident.
“Now with an access control point, the
library can make sure no child can just wander
behind our circulation desk to find out
where the books go—and meet that scary
monster,” Carleton said. “We now have access
control on staff-only areas so librarians
can take a real, uninterrupted break in the
“The receiving room and loading dock
now has a buzzer, an intercom, a door release
and a camera,” Carleton said. “We went from
an analog to an IP camera system, which affords
us clearer images and multiple views of
The libraries are located in a wonderful
community, but they still have the occasional
person who steals DVDs or crams a pizza
down the book drop. However, with better
access control and more cameras, they have a
bit less excitement and feel safer.
“The access control system made it possible
to let everyone in, but not let everyone in
everywhere,” Streit said. “In fact, we liked it
so much that we expanded our system to add
a couple of doors we hadn’t caught on the
first sweep. We have happily had no incidents
that require serious camera
work, but just knowing
it is there is worth the
peace of mind.”
This article originally appeared in the March 2018 issue of Security Today.