How Does RFID Work in Libraries?

By RFID Journal

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Ask The ExpertsHow Does RFID Work in Libraries?
RFID Journal Staff asked 10 years ago
I’m particularly interested in the technology’s use in Europe.

—Name withheld

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RFID works in libraries pretty much in the same way everywhere around the world. Most libraries apply passive 13.56 MHz RFID transponders to the inside cover or spine of each book. The transponders are usually based on the ISO 15693 standard.

The book’s ISB number can be written to the tag (or another serial number can be used), and is linked to that specific book in the library’s database. One benefit of such a system is self-checkout. A library patron can walk up to a kiosk, place all chosen books near the reader and then swipe his or her library card. The books can then pass a portal reader at the door without setting off an alarm.

Interrogators can be placed near return bins, so if someone is looking for a specific book, it can be recorded as having been returned—even if the bar code has not been scanned and that title hasn’t yet been returned to the shelf.

RFID generally speeds up work processes for librarians. Locating books can be performed more quickly, as can taking inventory with a handheld reader and other tasks. Here are some articles that you might find relevant:

Hamburg Library Moves to RFID

Publisher Tags All Library Books

Library to Deploy Ultra-Long-Life RFID Tags for Historical Collection

Large Swiss Library System Implementing RFID

For more articles about RFID use in libraries, click here.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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