Top 5 Capabilities of RFID Technology in Libraries
Radio-Frequency Identification, otherwise known as RFID, has become extremely popular in the library community, despite many organisations only touching the surface of its capabilities.
In 2014, D-Tech International was one of the first companies to integrate RFID technology into library management solutions, helping many facilities to streamline operations and heighten their offering.
To help you understand RFID’s full capabilities, we’ve compiled a list of the top five benefits that RFID technology can offer your library.
1- Flexible Stock Management
Keeping track of library stock can be a tricky undertaking. Often time-consuming as well. Fortunately, RFID technology is highly versatile in its uses and offers great flexibility regarding stock management.
Using RFID, staff can accurately track items from the point of loan to their return, where they can then be separated according to their RFID tag and transferred to the correct area. Unfortunately, items with no identifiable tags are all too easily misplaced.
Each RFID tag is assigned unique codes to help library staff members identify individual items, with the option of overwriting the code to keep it up-to-date.
Inventory monitoring is also seamless with RFID. For instance, suppose a librarian is scanning shelves for inventory. In that case, a hand-held reader will illuminate and beep when it finds a missing or mis-shelved item—taking away the tedious task of manually searching and organizing shelves.
Seamless stock sorting is another possibility as RFID tags provide real-time information on inventory levels, including details such as stock quantity and available models. In addition, reserved library items can be automatically separated from other returns and transported to specific library areas through a conveyor system.
2- Heightened Security
Misplaced books are an all-too-common problem across US libraries, with an average national loss of 6.28 million items per year. D-Tech’s RFID security gate system, secureIT, can provide perimeter-based protection and increased alarm-handling capabilities while acting as an effective deterrent against thefts. In short, RFID-powered security technology will help libraries protect valuable assets and save them the expense of replacing lost/stolen items.
If a customer tries to leave the library with an item, the reader on the library security gates will ask the tag if the item has been checked out. If a negative response is captured, the security gate reader will alert, reminding the user to return the item or check it out. An alert can also be sent to a member of library staff, identifying the exact item causing the alarm to help ensure issues are resolved quickly.
3- Frees-up Staff Members
The ever-expanding functionality of libraries and their increasing number of visitors (particularly in college libraries) has made it difficult for staff members to keep up with demand. RFID technology helps to eliminate staffing and time management issues.
D-Tech’s findIT can carry out complete inventories and item searches simultaneously, saving librarians and service users long waiting times. In addition, entire stock shelves can be documented with a single sweep, making the process of carrying out a complete inventory undoubtedly faster than a simple barcode system that requires the user or staff member to present it individually to the reader and align it with a scanner.
RFID-powered staff stations like processIT allows librarians to program stock and issue, return, or renew multiple items. In addition, self-service and self-checkout technology enables customers to easily check-out items at their convenience. D-Tech’s EYRE self-service kiosk even includes credit card, Contactless, and Apple Pay™ functionality.
“RFID technology ultimately helps to free-up time for staff to spend on other important library initiatives and engage with visitors – talk, share, listen and educate.” – Marvin Crisp – D-Tech US, Managing Director
4- User Experience
RFID ensures both intuitive and enjoyable experiences for library staff and users. The technology provides incredible value too busy librarians and is simple enough for people to use on the go and even for young children to navigate.
We have found library visitors are more inclined to process their own transactions because the technology is fast and easy to use. Check-in is also much quicker and easier with an RFID system.
D-Tech’s new serveIT range of multi-functionality library kiosks combines a large, simple-to-use touch screen with better accessibility to deliver an exceptional user experience encased in a sleek, space-saving package. Learn more about our RFID-powered, self-service units here.
5- Enhanced Data Collection and Trend Analysis
Utilising RFID technology to take inventory provides a simple solution to collecting large amounts of data and analyse trends. In addition, the ease with which stock can be documented and processed gives library staff members the time to carry out more regular inventories. This data can help management make informed decisions on library improvements, helping to continually grow and adapt libraries to meet consumers’ ever-evolving needs.