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Quebec Library Boosts Circulation Speed With Intelligent Shelves

An RFID-enabled system from Nedap Library Solutions allows the Trois-Rivières Library District to automatically receive a checked-out book when it's placed on the shelf, making the book immediately available for the next patron.
By Claire Swedberg
Jul 26, 2017

Last month, Quebec's Trois-Rivières Library District installed an RFID-based system at its three libraries, in order to automate the return of books. The technology helps to eliminate the period of time during which returned books wait to be checked in and returned to shelves. Instead, patrons return their books by placing them on the nearest shelf, at which point they immediately become available to other library card-holders.

The system is aimed at increasing the rate at which books are circulated. According to the technology provider, Nedap Library Solutions, the technology, on average, leads to the re-borrowing of 30 percent of the books on those shelves on the same day they were returned.

Nedap's system consists of high-frequency (HF) 13.56 MHz RFID readers, smart shelves with antennas, a PC and software to manage the collected data and a screen that displays information about each book's return, says Rudi Heersink, Nedap Library Solutions' marketing and communications manager. The technology was installed and integrated by Canadian solutions provider iMotion.

Many libraries are already equipped with HF RFID technology to help manage the flow of books into and out of their facilities. Typically, tagged books can be read at automated check-out desks, and again after being received when patrons place them in a returns chute or box.

Nedap Library Solutions' Rudi Heersink
However, books often may sit for hours, or even a day or more, before employees can return the books to the shelf so that other patrons can check them out. On the other hand, an RFID-based system capable of tracking the locations of all books throughout the entire library would be too expensive for most libraries. The Nedap technology offers a solution to that problem, the company reports.

The Trois-Rivières Library District receives 600,000 visitors and lends more than 1.2 million books or other media annually. It opted to install the RFID-based solution at three of its five area libraries to make the access of media more automatic. That helps it compete for attention from patrons who are more accustomed to technology-based information. "In an age [when] online retailers can get you a book instantaneously and people are glued to their mobile devices, libraries must adapt," says Shawn Korin, iMotion's director of technology projects. In addition, the technology provided the library with an opportunity to reduce the repetitive tasks of receiving, checking in and shelving books by library personnel, and enabling them to instead spend their time with patrons.

The system, compliant with the ISO 15693 standard, consists of Nedap's Intelligent Shelves units equipped with multiple antennas, each of which comes with a single Nedap EcoReader. A single, unpluggable cable connects the shelf modules to a nearby "information column," which comes with a PC, a reader and software to communicate with the library-management system (LMS).


Rudi Heersink 2017-07-26 09:05:27 AM
Great read! Just want to mention that the installation shown in the pictures in the article is an installation in Amstelveen, and not the installation in Trois-Rivières. If people have any further questions about the Intelligent Shelves, I'd be happy to answer those questions in this comment section or directly over our website: https://www.nedaplibrary.com/contact.html.

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