Significant Growth in RFID for Library Operations Reported
Similar to organizations that operate large supply chain and distribution processes, academic and public libraries need to manage a large number of assets. These assets have historically included books, but now also include videos, CDs, DVDs and other types of multimedia. With the expansion of the types of media offered, libraries are also seeking new ways to deliver improved patron services.
For libraries, RFID-enabled solutions offer capabilities that magnetic stripe or barcode technology simply cannot deliver as effectively. The advantages of RFID include superior data collection rates, automated self-checking for material loans and returns, reduced inventory times, and automated sorting and re-shelving processes. For patrons, this means a greater probability that the material they are looking for will be on the shelf, less time checking out books and other media and faster location of material that my have been misplaced or not yet sorted.
Established in 1983, ThingMagic partner Great Eastern Impex (GEI) is a leading systems integrator and solution provider in auto ID technologies, and is one of the largest manufacturers of RFID and barcode labels, tickets (tags) and printing ribbons. With over 25 years experience in delivering value and innovation to customers in manufacturing, retail, distribution and healthcare, Great Eastern Impex also views large library systems as a prime market for the adoption of UHF RFID-enabled solutions.
One such GEI customer deployment is with India-based JustBooks, a Bangalore, India-based startup. JustBooks teamed with Great Eastern Impex to use RFID to automate the inventory management processes throughout its entire library chain. JustBooks’ has tagged more than 160,000 library items with UPM Raflatac RFID tags that have been converted into custom book labels by Great Eastern Impex.
Library member cards also include RFID tags that allow customers to use touch screen kiosks that run library management software and include RFID readers from ThingMagic. These kiosks are used to automate the book borrowing transaction when books are placed by the kiosk during check out and return. The system is also integrated with the library’s inventory system which allows staff to conduct rapid book counts and make corrections of items that may have been misplaced.
A recent survey conducted by Library RFID Ltd indicates significant growth in the adoption of RFID by libraries. The report indicates that of 259 respondents from 193 different library organizations (primarily in the UK), 116 have already deployed RFID to some extent. This is in contrast to only 28 reporting the use of RFID in 2009. If this is an indication of global adoption of RFID by the library market, things look very promising.
Have you experienced RFID at the library check out? Let us know how it went below.