University of Sunderland – Access Control

Access control and enriched data analysis at the University of Sunderland.

Telepen installed Fastlane Glassgate 150 turnstiles at the University of Sunderland to control and monitor access to their libraries across two busy sites.

With a student population of over 20,000, the University of Sunderland is renowned for being a centre of education, with the ancient St Peter’s church, built in 674AD, providing the setting for the university’s award-winning Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter’s.

The students at the university are serviced by two libraries, the Murray Library (City Campus) and St Peter’s Library (Sir Tom Cowie Campus), both offering a combination of staffed and self-service opening hours.

The requirement for an improved access control solution came about due to the need for increased security at the libraries. Rachel Dolan, Campus Library Manager explains,” We needed a way of improving security at both sites, in particular at The Murray Library which is based in the city centre. We wanted to be able to track student usage of the libraries, but also to provide a physical barrier as a way of ensuring that only authorised staff, students and visitors could gain access to the facility.”

Rachel and the Estates department at the university were introduced to Telepen after receiving recommendations from other libraries, and subsequently made the decision to go ahead with the installation after visiting sites with turnstiles in use at the Universities of Durham and Manchester.

Once the requirements for the turnstiles had been confirmed, we worked alongside the university’s Estates and IT departments to integrate the new system with the existing RFID book security from another vendor. Then in autumn 2019, we installed five lanes of Fastlane Glassgate 150s across the two libraries at the university.

The Glassgate 150 turnstiles not only act as a visual deterrent to potential intruders, but the stainless steel and glass materials used mean that as well as providing the required level of security, the units are also modern and visually appealing.

Commenting on why the Glassgate 150 turnstiles were recommended for the libraries, Barney Yabbacome, Account Manager (Midlands and North UK, NI and Eire) at Telepen says, “As the libraries are in use around the clock, the university needed a solution that could be installed quickly with the least amount of disruption to students still accessing the facility. In terms of security, the turnstiles prevent unauthorised entry and create an internal perimeter, ensuring a safe working environment for staff, students and visitors.”

The Fastlane turnstiles connect to the Telepen Juno software, the only access control software specifically designed for academic libraries. Being compatible with the library management system enables the library staff to capture and analyse data that gives additional flexibility and helps them make plans around when to open the library.

“We needed to be able to access richer data on who was using the library, and when,” explains Rachel, “so being able to run inhouse analysis for capacity at different times, which we look at with the security team, has been really valuable. We also use the data to collate annual footfall figures for library benchmarking purposes.”

The new turnstiles have been positively received by the students using the facility, particularly in the city campus where the library is open 24 hours a day and there had previously been no way of preventing unauthorised access.

Every project comes with its own challenges, but our experienced team are always on hand to trouble shoot any unexpected issues should they arise. Highlighting one specific area of the installation, Rachel says,” The nature of the project meant that one part of the site where the gates were due to be installed was still being refurbished, so there was a lot of communication between us and the Telepen team around the location of network sockets and power outlets. The Telepen team were incredibly patient, it was never a bother for them to double check requirements and provide any information we needed.

“We also asked for some help and advice setting up our guest library cards, which required a solution that was bespoke to our institution, and again the Telepen team were very responsive and helped us considerably.” Rachel continues.

In summary Rachel says, “I couldn’t praise the Telepen team highly enough. They were personable and worked closely with us through every element of the install. The service we received was excellent, they really did go above and beyond to ensure the install of our system and gates was completed on schedule at both sites.”

You can find out more about access control options, by visiting this page.

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