The Denver Public Library is investing more than half a million dollars in new security-camera software that will bolster security coverage across its 25 branches.
If approved by Denver City Council — a vote is scheduled in the coming weeks — the $600,000 contract with a security systems company will allow DPL to link its camera feeds from the library's branches to the main security terminal at the Central Branch.
The software, which could be installed as early as this year, aims to fix a longstanding problem that security officers have dealt with at the library.
"It was possible to view other branches' security feeds, but it was extremely time-consuming and wasn’t user-friendly," says Bob Knowles, the library's head of security.
A live feed will be triggered when a burglar alarm goes off, a feature that Knowles says will help his team save time and resources.
As the system stands, unless someone is on site when an alarm is triggered, there's no way of seeing what's happening, he says. "Sometimes it's simply a staff member who got there early, hadn’t gotten the code right and ended up causing an unnecessary response either from a security officer from Central or a police call," says Knowles. The new system will "give us the ability to quickly determine what we have going on there and determine if we need a police response."
Knowles says the new security system won't include any facial recognition software. "In the library, we’re concerned about anonymity of using the library," he says. "We’re not looking to identify people for any reason other than issues that happen inside the library."
The new software is part of security improvements that the library has made since 2017, Knowles says. That year, the Central Branch saw at least six opioid overdoses. Increased security measures have included lowering book shelves for cleaner lines of sight and installing more lights at the Central branch.