Any library needs to have a reliable and accurate theft detection system. For decades, libraries relied on Electro-Mechanical (EM) and Radio Frequency (RF) technologies, but RFID library systems have now become a popular and effective solution that not only employs theft detection, but can also be useful for manifold day-to-day library applications, such as library logistics, item circulation, and check-out.
RFID library systems can help reduce costs and queuing at check-outs by providing a quick and effective scanning system for items. Furthermore, library patrons can also check out and return items with ease and simplicity. When compared to barcodes or other methods, RFID tags tend to have a long shelf life and are durable because they don’t need to come into physical contact with any scanning equipment. It’s estimated that an RFID tag can last for 100,000 transactions before needing to be replaced.
The cost of implementing an RFID library system can be prohibitive. Although the cost is expected to go down substantially as adoption becomes more widespread, it’s still an expensive endeavour at face value. Consider that once it’s implemented, however, its ease of use and time-saving advantages do translate to labour costs going down as well. Unfortunately, RFID technology can make some patrons feel apprehensive about their privacy. Clothing and wallets containing RFID-blocking technology are also promoting the idea that RFID is inherently an invasive technology. The ability to disrupt frequencies is a related challenge with regards to theft.
On the whole, it’s important to note the myriad benefits associated with implementing an RFID library system but to also evaluate the costs involved as well as the challenges that come along with implementing new technology.