Webcam to broadcast line in library cafe?

Laura Baker bakerl at ACU.EDU
Fri May 9 11:09:08 EDT 2014

What a timely message!  Our library is considering the same thing.  There
are a number of libraries that do this.  Here are some examples:

Additionally, there was an excellent presentation a few years ago at ALA
from a library who did this (perhaps NCSU?), and they said the webcam was
easily one of the most frequently accessed links on their mobile site.  I
believe there is another publication by ALA on mobile libraries, and it
lists webcams as common content for consideration on mobile sites.

I asked some libraries with webcams if they encountered a privacy issue.
While all had considered it, none said it was a problem.  Camera placement
is critical.  Some suggestions were to keep the camera up high and perhaps
use a lower resolution so as not to seem to focus on faces.  What you want
is just a general sense of space and activity.

We ran the idea by our campus police, who felt it was not a privacy issue.
They pointed out that a number of restaurants, hotel lobbies, and
storefronts have public webcams.  The cameras are in public places, and as
long as we had a notice on the doors that cameras are in place, then they
felt that was good.  We informally polled students about the idea, and they
were okay with it.  Interestingly enough our staff are the ones with

I would be very interested in hearing from others who have webcams and what
your experience has been.


On Fri, May 9, 2014 at 9:50 AM, Heather Rayl <23eris at> wrote:

> Hey all!
> We are in the process of re-designing our website, and someone suggested
> that it would be neat to have a live webcam trained on the line in the cafe
> so people could see if it was busy or slow.
> Initially I thought this was a great idea, however, my privacy sensors are
> going off the more I think about it.
> Does anyone know of a library that's running this sort of set-up? I know
> that the US Fed. Gov't allows you to film public places for a CCTV feed,
> but publishing said feed on the web is a completely different thing.
> Also, there are creepy people in the world. Could said creepy people use
> this live webcam to stalk someone?
> I don't really want to take this to the university's legal counsel...
> Thanks for you help and thoughts!!
> ~heather
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Laura Baker
Librarian -- Digital Research and Learning
Abilene Christian University Library
221 Brown Library / ACU Box 29208
Abilene, TX  79699-9208

bakerl at
phone: (325) 674-2477
fax:   (325) 674-2202


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