Improved security at Greenwich University Library

In order to increase security within the Avery Hill library at the University of Greenwich, Telepen came highly recommended from other academic libraries as installers of Fastlane turnstiles at the library’s new building.

One of the three libraries servicing the needs of the students at the University, the Avery Hill library had previously been housed in a Victorian building on the Mansion Site. The library was moved to a new location, right at the heart of the Avery Hill Campus.

The new library is a modular construction linked to the existing buildings via two glass walkways, bringing a contemporary, modern feel to the space. In its new location, the library is in the heart of the Academic area and student social spaces, a busy area needing an entrance control system to provide security, whilst fitting with the overall aesthetic of the building.

Debbie North, Avery Hill’s Library Manager, comments,” At our previous site, we had to manually check cards as students came into the library, which was not ideal. We knew we needed to improve security by installing access control gates when we moved to the new library.”

Although the University knew they needed an access control system, they were keen to find out from other libraries what their experiences had been with the solutions they were using. Using Jisc, a database that brings together academic libraries throughout the UK and Ireland, the University put out a request asking for recommendations.

“It’s a great way to share information and get ideas from real people with an independent viewpoint,” says Debbie, “Several other university libraries came back to say they had gates installed by Telepen and were really happy with them.”

Following this recommendation, Adele Brooks, the Project Manager for the build, contacted Kevin Sontag, Sales Account Manager at Telepen. “We suggested the Fastlane Glassgate 150 turnstile could be the ideal solution, linking to the University’s existing campus-wide control system to provide a barrier to unauthorised entry, but without being too obtrusive.

“We also recommended some site visits, so that Debbie and her team could see the gates in situ,” explains Kevin, “we visited the Institute of Classical Studies at Senate House in London and the University of Roehampton, which both have the Glassgate 150 gates.”

“The site visits were so helpful,” comments Debbie, “they were two very different locations, and being able to watch the students coming in and out gave us a really good feel for how the gates were being used. We got some great feedback and everything we heard and saw made us think this was the right product for us.”

The Glassgate 150 model is one of the most popular of the Fastlane Speedgate range, providing an aesthetically pleasing barrier finished in glass and brushed stainless steel, with a compact footprint requiring minimal floorspace in the library. The gates open wide, which makes access easier for wheelchair users or students carrying wide folders and baggage.

Having managed to squeeze in the site visits just before the first Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020, the installation of three Glassgate 150 cabinets was set for late summer, to ensure the library would be ready to open at the start of the new academic year in September.

Despite the challenges and restrictions caused by the pandemic, there were no delays to installation, and the work was completed on schedule.

Commenting on the benefits the new system has had for the university, Debbie explains,” There are so many advantages to having the gates installed; it means that staff don’t always need to be sitting at the front desk, they can go off into the library and help other students. There’s also the reassurance of added security – we have a no card, no access policy – which gives us a sense of safety, and ultimately makes our lives easier!”

Debbie continues,” Being able to monitor capacity is crucial, particularly during the pandemic, and by understanding who is using the library, and when, we can not only predict when footfall is likely to be particularly heavy, but we’ve also been able to use the data for track and trace – allowing us to manage the situation during Covid for our students safety’’

We know that customers appreciate our personal level of service, and following the successful completion of all our projects, our team are available to give our customers help and advice should they require it. Debbie says,” Kevin stayed in touch in case there were any issues, which there weren’t. We were impressed by the ways in which Telepen had obviously thought about the ways they could help their customers – either by email, phone or webinar.”

With the project complete and the gates in place at the library, Debbie concludes, “They fit in well, they’re easy to use and the students like them. All in all, it’s been unanimously successful, a really positive experience for us.”

To talk to us about the solutions we would recommend for your specific requirements, please get in touch by calling +44 (0)1582 769991, or emailing