Library Info

RFID Magic

As many of you know by now, the library is in the process of switching our circulation to an RFID system. I realized the other day that, when telling patrons about the switch, I often used the phrase “like magic” to explain the new system. As a provider of information I’m starting to feel like I could be a bit more clear.

So here it is. The library is happily moving away from the old school barcodes which must be scanned one by one with a barcode reader. With the new system we’ll use an antenna to detect RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags within books; no scanning necessary. The most noticeable change for patrons will be the new, improved self-check machines. At the new machines users will simply place all their items on the antenna (which is really just a flat surface) which will then read the tags placed in each book/item. See? Like magic! The new machines will also allow users to pay their fines then and there without going to a service desk. The new system also makes it easier for our staff to find misplaced books within the library. We’ve been equipped with an RFID “wand” (see how the magic keeps coming?) which we can wave over the shelves in order to find specific books. We believe this switch will help us better serve your needs.

Interested in other uses of RFID tags? Check out this article from CNET on RFID in passports and this short list by Wired Magazine of creative uses of the system.

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